The 2016 ISBHF Masters World Ball Hockey Championships ended last week and the United States Women’s Masters Team Blue won their 2nd consecutive Silver medal, falling to Gold medalist Team Canada 2-1 in the one of the most exciting championship games in recent memory.

The USA Women’s Blue team went 4-1 in their round robin games.  They started out with a 2-0 victory over USA Women’s Masters Team Red, and followed that win up with wins over Team Ontario, Team Alberta, and Team Slovakia before falling to Team Canada in their last round robin game 2-0.  The team looked very sharp all week, with captains (C) Kristin Patneaude, (A) Nancy O’Halloran, (A) Amy Miller, and (A) Yvonne Percy able to achieve that critical balance between focus and excitement with the players.  Often times World Championships can bring out a case of the nerves in some players, and it’s a testament to the leadership abilities of these captains that none of the players exhibited an apprehension about being on the world stage.

Head Coach Shawn Mulcahey and his staff of coaches, Jason Glista, Paul White, and Jason Kelly, were able to execute their game plan almost to perfection.  The ladies all bought into Coach Mulcahey’s system, and against Canada, their high pressure forecheck worked exceptionally well, with the United States generating several scoring chances directly off of pressure applied to the Canadian defense.  I spoke with Coach Mulcahey before the game and indeed that was one of the keys he felt they really needed to execute.  Credit to him and his staff for all their hard work all week.

The Canadians opened the scoring and added the eventual game winner to make it 2-0 before Tournament Most Valuable Goaltender Alessandra Glista locked down the fort and continued to make some critical saves to keep her team in it.  The USA eventually managed to solve the Canadian goalie Nathalie Girouard when Tournament Most Valuable Player Liane Dixon made it 2-1 burying a rebound off of a great individual effort by the Captain Patneaude.  The USA was unable to get that equalizer however to force overtime, and the game ended with Canada taking home their 2nd straight Gold medal.

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Liane Dixon makes it to 2-1 in the third

In a tremendous gesture of appreciation and sportsmanship, the USA Blue team chose forward Jodi Naasz as their player of the game.  Naasz was injured in the previous game against Canada and was unable to play in the Gold medal game.  This certainly resulted in a lot fewer dry eyes in the house.  Jodi was there to support her team though and really showed her spirit by managing to provide a lot of encouragement from the bench.

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Jodi Naasz winning Player of the Game Award in the Gold Medal Game

This was the only USA team out of four in attendance that was able to finish in a medal position.  They are now two time Silver medalists!  Congratulations to these outstanding women!

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2016 ISBHF Masters World Ball Hockey Championships Women’s Division Silver Medalists United States

“Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday.” – Wilma Rudolph