ANAHEIM, CA -- Doug Ast scored twice and goaltender David Goverde held the United States shooters largely at bay as Team Canada defeated the USA 6-2 to win the gold medal at the 1998 IIHF World In-Line Hockey Championship on Saturday.
Canada's victory avenges two straight gold-medal game losses to Team USA, including a 5-4 loss in 1997. Finland won the Bronze medal with a 5-1 victory over Switzerland.
Canada struck first and early when Glen Metropolit of Toronto beat USA goalie Joe Bonvie just 55 seconds into the game. Ast, of Chilliwack, BC, made it a two-goal advantage when he converted a feed from Gerry St. Cyr at 5:41.
Team USA countered swiftly, though, with Scott Drevitch cutting the lead in half with the host team's first score just 31 seconds later at 6:12.
Ast restored Canada's two-goal cushion with his sixth goal of the tournament just 29 seconds after that. Canada built a 5-1 lead by halftime, scoring the only two goals of the second quarter. First, Brent Thurston of Vancouver, drilled a shot through Bonvie's legs from a bad angle to make 4-1. And Brian Goudie of The Pas, MB, hammered a slap shot through the big U.S. goaltender's legs at 11:32.
Hugo Belanger of North Vancouver completed the scoring for Canada when he converted a feed from defenceman Darren Perkins at 4:37 of the fourth quarter to make 6-1. The U.S. added a goal in the game's final minute.
"We were certainly the underdog coming into this game and that might have worked in our favor," said victorious Team Canada head coach Doug McCarthy. "Our guys were able to concentrate hard and execute our game plan.
"Our plan was to slow the game down and play more of a power game. We couldn't afford to let them use their tremendous speed and get their attacks going."
Canada won its round-robin group with a perfect 3-0 won-lost record after posting victories over Austria (14-4), Germany (13-6) and Switzerland (5-4). Canada then defeated Finland 11-5 in one semifinal to earn their third straight berth in the World Championship final.
Team USA rolled through their group, beating Italy 18-0, Finland by 9-4 and Russia 19-1. In their semifinal, Team USA skated past Switzerland 10-4.
Goverde was named the tournament's best goalie and was named to the tournament All-Star team.