Fruitvale’s Patrick Iannone was named top forward and tournament MVP for leading the Italian national team back to the elite World Hockey Championship with a 2-1 win over Hungary in Budapest Friday.
Iannone scored the winning goal with just under 10 minutes remaining in regulation time, to break a 1-1 tie and win the promotion of the Azzurri to the 2014 IIHF World Hockey Championship in Stockholm.
“We couldn’t be happier for our team and what we’ve accomplished,” the game-winning goal scorer Iannone told a reporter for the IIHF website. “We knew how it was two years ago. We knew it would be the same tonight. It’s an amazing and loud crowd. It’s fun to play here. It’s these kind of games you want to play.”
The top two teams of the Div. 1 Group A tournament advance to the 2014 Worlds. The other qualifier, Kazikhstan, needed a win against Italy in their final game of the tournament to win the berth.
With the Italians already guaranteed a spot, Kazikhstan skated to a 3-0 victory on Saturday, to win the gold and claim their promotion. Italy took home silver while the Hungarians beat Japan in their final match 1-0 for its third bronze medal in as many years.
Iannone finished the tournament second in overall scoring with four goals and two assists in five games, while defenceman Trevor Johnson finished second in plus/minus with a plus-four rating in five outings.