Dhe German national ice hockey team came back with passion after the Olympic disgrace against Slovakia and also thanks to an outstanding Philipp Grubauer in goal against the bronze winner celebrated their first win at the World Cup. Three months after the 0: 4 against the Slovaks in Beijing, the selection of national coach Toni Söderholm celebrated a 2: 1 (0: 0, 2: 1, 0: 0) against the Olympic bronze medalist in Helsinki on Saturday.
Matthias Plachta from Adler Mannheim with a strong solo effort (22nd minute) and Leo Pföderl (27th) from Eisbären Berlin shot the 2021 World Cup semi-finalists on their way to the quarter-finals to success against their direct competitor. NHL goaltender Grubauer from the Seattle Kraken was honored as the best player on the winning team.
Grubauer was exhausted but happy. “It’s just so awesome when you play in front of a home crowd in Finland,” he praised the German fans for their support in the hall in an interview with Sport1. “Slovaks always fight to the bitter end. And the next games won’t be any easier – we have to step on the gas again!” demanded the happy goalie, who only had to criticize the warm hall and the soft ice that evening. “Now we have a day off – and then all the fun goes on again.”
Reparations to Beijing
In Beijing, the bankruptcy against Slovakia had caused disillusionment and the return of the 2018 silver winner before the round of the top eight. This time the Germans with NHL goalie Philipp Grubauer only allowed Kristian Pospisil (32nd) to score. In front of 4387 spectators in the hall, which was almost half full, the second third was decisive. With three points from the difficult first weekend of the World Cup, they secured a good starting position for the supposedly decisive tasks for progression.
On Monday (7.20 p.m. / Sport1 / MagentaSport) a mandatory win should be achieved against outsiders France. At the start, the national team of national coach Toni Söderholm conceded a 3:5 against the top nation Canada.
The Söderholm squad took self-criticism and encouragement from the first game against the record world champion. For the second World Cup appearance, former NHL professional Korbinian Holzer had expected a game at “equal footing”. Finally, world number ninth Germany met eighth (Slovakia) and the expected balanced and competitive duel developed.
Söderholm, whose mother had announced herself as a spectator in the hall again, had decided against a goalkeeper change, which is not unusual in ice hockey given the close timing of the games. NHL goalkeeper Grubauer played again and was able to distinguish himself several times. Goal scorer Pföderl congratulated his strong goalkeeper with a wink: “Shots come on goal and you think kiss my ass and he laughs his ass off.”
Unlike against Canada, the Germans avoided going behind this time. However, they didn’t use a manpower situation carelessly made possible by the Slovaks at the end of the first third, nor did they use a power play in the second period, when they even had two more players on the ice for more than a minute.
Dynamic Plachta is the beginning
The lead resulted from a strong individual performance by Plachta: the experienced player stormed into the offensive zone at great speed, the puck bounced off a Slovak into the goal. Despite the interim two-goal lead thanks to the interaction of the two Berliners Marcel Noebels and Pföderl, things quickly got exciting again: Grubauer was able to parry at first, but then let Pospisil, who came from behind the goal, overcome him.
At the end of the second third, the Germans came under pressure – but withstood it and survived a 3:5 deficit at the beginning of the final section. With morale, the Olympic tenth brought victory over time.
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