Holzer goal stuns USA
Holzer goal stuns USA
Germany on way to quarter-finals
Since losing their first two games of the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, Germany has been surging in Group B. Big wins against Slovakia, Belarus, and now the Americans, have given them new life as they are now moving into the next round.
It was the first regulation-time win against the U.S. since 1993 and the first win since the opening game of the 2010 World Championship on home ice in Gelsenkirchen. Unless France comes back with wins over Canada and Belarus the Germans have their quarter-final ticket.
"You can tell we’re confident," Felix Schutz said of Germany's effort. "We’re playing good hockey, and that’s what happens."
Germany was missing Tobias Rieder’s creativity in the game. Rieder is out with a knee injury. In the tournament he was able to contribute a goal and assist in four games and provide some spark.
Thomas Greiss was in net again for Germany and made 31 saves. Since coming to St. Petersburg, Greiss has been tapped to start the last two games.
"He played very well tonight," Team USA captain Matt Hendricks said. "He was a man in the crease. He kept a lot of his rebounds in control. Our second opportunities, when we had them, he came up big."
Germany made the most of their chances in the first period, capitalizing on USA mistakes. After twenty minutes, they led 2-1 despite being outshot 15-7. At the same time, Germany was lacking discipline, giving up four man advantage opportunities. Despite having the sixth ranked power play in the tournament, the United States could not get anything going on the afternoon.
"They’re a good team and they work hard," American Patrick Maroon said. "You’ve got to give credit to them. It’s not that they’re not a good team. They’re a very good hockey team over there. We just made some mistakes, mental errors, and we didn’t play a full 60 minutes."
Patrick Hager’s power play goal gave Germany the first goal of the game at 2:19. It was Hager’s second goal in World Championship play this spring.
Team USA would knot it up at 10:35. JT Compher showed patience holding the puck until he was able to connect with Jake McCabe who was racing towards the net. Despite having Leon Draisaitl on his back, McCabe received the pass and shot it in to make it 1-1.
Christian Ehrhoff gave Germany back the lead at 13:06. His low point shot found its way through traffic in front of the net and past goaltender Mike Condon. Schutz received an assist, his second of the game. Hager also got an assist on the play to go with his earlier goal.
The United States was finally able to get a goal on the power play than ran over from the first period when Marcus Kink was called for cross checking. Brock Nelson’s slapshot was blocked but he recaptured the puck and sent a pass to Auston Matthews who scored 26 seconds into the middle frame.
Germany continued to struggle staying out of the penalty box with three more minors in the second. Head coach Marco Sturm may have wanted his team to play a physical game today but it could have costs them if the United States power play was clicking.
Both team circled each other in the third with chances to take the lead until Holzer’s tally broke the tie. Holzer's shot whizzed past Condon for the score and brought the largely pro-German crowd to its feet. It was Holzer's first goal and first point of the tournament and could not have come at a better time.
Germany’s leap to playoff round contention has been remarkable. They have won three of their last four games. Meanwhile, the Americans missed an opportunity to solidify a spot for themselves in the next round.
"We’ve just got to play hard," Maroon said. "We’re still not out of this. We’ve got one game to make it. It comes down to that. That’s why these tournaments are fun, because you can always redeem yourself. We’ve got a chance to redeem ourselves against Slovakia."
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