USA qualified for the World Championship

Archived from 1998-99 season.
Having already clinched a return to Pool A at the 1999 World Hockey Championships in Norway in May, the United States on Sunday completed a sweep at the qualifying tournament with a 2-0 blanking of Austria.

Earlier USA had defeated Estonia 7-1, and Kazakhstan 3-0 in the first game of qualifying tournament for World Championship.

In the game against Kazakhstan, Neal Broten, who played on the "Miracle on Ice" team at the 1980 Olympics, scored two goals and set up another in a key victory that kept alive American hopes of remaining among hockey's international elite.
 Group A  W   L   T   GF - GA   P 
 UKRAINE 2 0 1 8 - 4 5
 FRANCE 2 1 0 10 - 7 4
 SLOVENIA 0 1 2 5 - 8 2
 GERMANY 0 2 1 3 - 6 1

 Germany - Slovenia 1-1
 Ukraine - France 4-1
 Germany - Ukraine 1-2
 France - Slovenia 5-2
 France - Germany 3-1
 Slovenia - Ukraine 2-2
 Group B  W   L   T   GF - GA   P 
 USA 3 0 0 12 - 1 6
 AUSTRIA 2 1 0 12 - 6 4
 KAZAKHSTAN 1 2 0 10 - 9 2
 ESTONIA 0 3 0 3 - 21 0

 USA - Kazakhstan 3-0
 Estonia - Austria 2-6
 USA - Estonia 7-1
 Kazakhstan - Austria 2-6
 Austria - USA 0-2
 Kazakhstan - Estonia 8-0

 Note: Top two teams in each group qualify
  for World Championship in Norway.

It has been a rough year for American hockey. There was the infamous room-trashing incident at the Nagano Olympics and three months later the United States finished an embarrassing 12th at the World Championship in Switzerland, a result which forced the Americans into qualifying this week in Klagenfurt, Austria.

Relying on Europe-based players, the Americans face favorite Kazakhstan, Estonia and Austria. The top two qualify for the 16-team World Championship in May in Norway. In nearby Ljubljana, Slovenia, Germany, Ukraine, France and Slovenia face off in another group.

Broten, 38, Mark Johnson, 41, and Joe Mullen, 41, represent the retired "old-timers" on the squad. The rest of the players are from European leagues.

"This roster represents a blend of talented, veteran players who understand the mission of this team," general manager Art Berglund said.

"Our goal is to strengthen the United States' position as one of the elite hockey-playing nations in the world by qualifying for the 1999 A Pool world championship."

The four non-qualifiers fall into Pool B of world hockey. The Americans were last in that secondary division in 1983. The World Championship is played in May and has always lacked the NHL stars, but the event is highly regarded in Europe.

"We know the USA is a great hockey country and it would be unfortunate to lose them from the top group," said Kimmo Leinonen, spokesman for the IIHF, hockey's governing body. "Maybe these older guys will bring that the spirit of that 1980 team."

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