Germans get first victory
Germans get first victory
Most lopsided German win ever over Slovakia
Patrick Hager, Patrick Reimer, and Dominik Kahun had a goal and an assist apiece for Germany, and Phiip Gogulla and Brooks Macek also tallied. Moritz Muller chipped in with a pair of assists.
"We didn’t have a great start against Finland [a 5-1 loss], and I thought we changed that today," said Macek. "We carried out the whole 60 minutes, so it was a good game for everyone."
Peter Cehlarik replied for Slovakia, which suffered its first loss of 2016.
"We had a bad game from our side," said Slovak coach Zdeno Ciger."No motivation. We played good before, disciplined and aggressive. We stopped skating today. Germany played physical hockey and were all over the ice."
This was a welcome change of pace for new German national team coach Marco Sturm. It was his team's first win here in St. Petersburg. Germany’s only previous point came from the opening 3-2 shootout loss to France.
"It was a big game today," said Sturm. "We had to respond from the last game. Moving forward, it was a huge win for us tonight."
This 5-1 score represents the biggest margin of victory for Germany over Slovakia in World Championship history.
Slovak goalie Branislav Konrad, who played in the 4-1 win over Hungary, got his second start of the tournament, but would be pulled in the third period. Germany’s Felix Bruckmann won his World Championship debut. Shots on goal were even at 28 apiece.
The Slovaks, who finished ninth the last two years, are hoping for their first medal since 2012’s silver. Germany’s last medal was also silver, but that was in 1953. The Germans haven't made the quarter-finals since 2011.
However, these two nations have played each other on surprisingly even terms since their first World Championship meeting in 1996. This result improved Germany’s all-time record versus Slovakia to five wins and four losses. Germany has won four out of the last five meetings dating back to 2008.
At 2:51, Slovakia got the first power play when Reimer accidentally clipped Tomas Hrnka with his stick. The Slovaks mounted furious pressure around the German net, including Libor Hudacek hitting the goal post, but couldn’t break through.
Cehlarik opened the scoring on an interesting play at 8:42. Marek Bartanus circled the German net and flung a cross-ice pass to Cehlarik, who put the puck in off Bruckmann from a bad angle. The referee initially waved it off, but Bartanus rushed over and, with great vehemence, pointed at the puck in the net, which quickly clarified matters.
At 4:23 of the second period, Germany tied it up on a nifty passing play. Felix Schutz got the puck behind the Slovak net and sent a backhand centering pass to Hager, who eluded Tomas Jurco’s stick check and beat Konrad.
Gogulla gave Germany a 2-1 lead at 11:03 with a center point drive off a faceoff that slipped in low to the glove side.
The Germans scored their third power play goal of the tournament with some nice puck movement, again off a faceoff. From the goal line, Kahun found an unguarded Reimer out front and he slid the puck past Konrad’s left pad for a 3-1 lead at 14:48.
"I appreciated playing on the first line today," said Kahun, a three-time World Junior participant. "This is fun playing here in my first World Championship."
"We scored three important goals in the second and I thought we deserved to win," Gogulla said.
At 3:45 of the third period, Macek put the game out of reach when he swooped in from the neutral zone, caught the Slovak defence backing up and flung a wrister past Konrad. That prompted a Slovak goaltending change, with Julius Hudacek coming in in relief.
The teams both marched to the penalty box as the final stanza wore on, but neither side could capitalize with the man advantage. Kahun rounded out the scoring for Germany at 5-1 with 5:24 left, bagging a rebound to cap off a rush.
Next up for Germany is defending champion Canada on Thursday. The Canadians hammered the Germans 10-0 last year.
Slovakia will look to get back in the win column on Wednesday against Belarus, which has lost three straight.
"After this loss, I hope the team wakes up and starts to play disciplined and as a team again," said Ciger. "I hope next game is a totally different game."
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