International Ice Hockey Federation

Germany shoots down Norway

Germany shoots down Norway

Hager heroic with PP goal, shootout winner

Published 18.02.2018 16:20 GMT+10 | Author Lucas Aykroyd
Germany shoots down Norway
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 18: Germany's Patrick Hager #50 scores a second period goal against Norway's Lars Haugen #30 while Henrik Odegaard #42, Jonas Holos #6 and Ken Andre Olimb #40 look on during preliminary round action at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Patrick Hager scored twice, including the shootout winner, as Germany beat Norway 2-1 to finish third in Group C on Saturday.

In regulation time, Alexander Reichenberg replied for winless Norway, which lands fourth in the group.

Germany outshot Norway 38-29. Both teams got excellent goaltending in Saturday's defensive duel at the Gangneung Hockey Centre, but Haugen was frustrated after allowing three straight goals to Hager, Matthias Plachta, and Dominik Kahun in the shootout. The 30-year-old Farjestads BK netminder tried to smash his stick at the bench afterwards, but was unsuccessful.

"We did good today," said Hager. "All three shooters stuck to their move and the goalie bit on everybody, so we were really happy to have that." 

German coach Marco Sturm gave Danny aus den Birken his second start in net, even though Timo Pielmeier shone with 25 saves when Sweden, the 2017 World Champions, edged Germany 1-0. Birken also played in the 5-2 opening loss to Finland.

Norway and Germany were both offensively challenged against the top Nordic powers in Group C. That low-scoring trend continued in this early game, a grinding affair. Norway's offense was further hampered by taking six penalties, including a major to Tommy Kristiansen. The Germans took five minors.

"We scored two goals in three games," said Norwegian captain Jonas Holos. "That's pretty tough too, because when you score goals you get energy. But right now we just battle, battle, battle, and you get one goal or even less each game, and that's pretty tough."

Now it's time to refocus for the upcoming single-elimination Qualification Playoff games, featuring the teams who finish between fifth place and twelfth place in the overall standings.

"We reboot now," said aus den Birken. "We recover well so far as it goes and then we take the momentum with us."

With under three minutes left in the scoreless first period, Frank Hordler sprang Frank Mauer on a breakaway with an Erik Karlsson-worthy stretch pass, but Haugen foiled his in-tight backhand.

Early in the second period, German defenceman Sinan Adkag was shaken up on Kristiansen's big hit in the corner to aus den Birken’s left. Kristiansen was given five minutes for checking to the head and a game misconduct. However, during the ensuing man advantage, David Wolf put one off the post, and Haugen’s magnificent left toe save denied Yasin Ehliz on a faceoff circle one-timer.

At 12:53, Hager finally opened the scoring on the power play. On the goal line, he took a pass from Kahun and then pivoted in front of the net to squeeze one under Haugen’s stick arm. The move was similar to U.S. forward Ryan Donato’s 2-1 winner against Slovakia. (Incidentally, Hager, a six-time IIHF World Championship participant in his first Olympics, tallied the 2-1 winner when host Germany defeated the U.S. to open last year’s Worlds in Cologne.)

Norway tied it up at 5:19 of the third after Anders Bastiansen won a faceoff in the German end. Holos controlled the puck and then found Reichenberg in the faceoff circle. The Swedish-born winger who plays for Sparta Praha beat aus den Birken through traffic.

Germany was caught with too many men on the ice with just 10 seconds left in regulation. Since the Norwegians couldn't score before the buzzer, they got a 4-on-3 power play to kick off overtime. However, there was nothing doing. Kahun rang a quick release off Haugen's mask just before the end of the five-minute period.

"In the end I think we found a way to win and that's important for us to get that mental boost for the next game," said Hager. "We know it's a do-or-die game, and it's always better to go in there with a win instead of a loss."

It was Germany’s third straight win over Norway in Olympic competition. Previously, they dominated Norway on the Polar Bears’ home ice. The Germans won 6-2 at the 1952 Olympics in Oslo and 2-1 in Lillehammer in 1994.

Both these nations are in the mode of “there’s nowhere to go but up.” The Germans finished 11th at their last Olympics in Vancouver 2010. Norway was 12th and last in Sochi 2014. Will one of them stage an upset? Stay tuned.


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