International Ice Hockey Federation

With everything to lose

With everything to lose

Germany goes down to Slovakia in overtime shootout

Published 20.04.2015 23:50 GMT+2 | Author Chapin Landvogt
With everything to lose
LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND - APRIL 20: Slovakia's Adam Huska #30 makes the save on this play during preliminary round action against Germany at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship. (Photo by Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)
With everything on the line, Germany entered its third game of preliminary play already facing a must-win situation.

With its final first round opponent being the USA, the Germans not only needed to win this game against Slovakia, but try and do so by three or more goals, considering the Slovaks defeated Sweden 3-1 in their initial game of the tournament. Likewise for Slovakia, which proceeded to lose the US 10-0 and Russia 4-2 (not even 24 hours earlier) after the victory over

Gung-ho throughout warm-ups and then right on up to the first face-off, both teams began this game on a mission. Both teams exchanged hits and chances until the Germans managed to ring a post at the 13:59 mark, bringing a collective sigh from the entire crowd.

This proved to be a sign of things to come – to Germany’s advantage.

A well-executed power play formation led to a goal at the 12:09 mark when Max Glassl wristed a shot on goal and Tobias Eder got the rebound and wristed one into the upper corner to give Germany their first lead of the tournament. It was incidentally Eder’s – and Germany’s – second goal of the tournament.

Physical play picked up on both sides and an interference call was given to Simon Schutz, who had protected his defensive partner from being massively crushed by Slovakian six foot four inch winger Filip Lestan. What ensued was a dangerous power play that saw Slovakia get its best chance yet, when a blueline shot was tipped just wide enough for German goalie Patrick Berger to make the save.

No sooner had the second period began, in which Slovakia still had 46 seconds of power play time, did Radovan Bondra get the puck in the high slot and rifled a wrister through a crowd and directly into the goal past Berger, who appeared to be screened. The game was tied 1-1 with almost two full periods to go.

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Things evened out for a long stretch before Slovakian goalie Adam Huska was required to make a big stop on a shorthanded semi-breakaway by Lois Spitzner.

As the period began to wind down, the east-west hockey picked up. And Germany was the benefactor. With the Slovaks often taking a few too many risks, Germany came back on a 3-on-2 in which Julian Napravnik sent a beautiful cross-ice pass to captain Jakub Mayenschein, who quickly wristed the puck above Huska’s shoulder to give Germany the 2-1 lead.

This game the team a good shot of momentum and they carried play for the rest of the period, controlling the puck and performing break-outs with an efficiency they hadn’t yet displayed in the tournament. The constant pressure led to a power play and after several good shots, Eder’s wrister hit Huska and landed just to his right, where Spitzer suddenly had a wide open net from an awkward angle. He sent the puck right through the crease, just barely missing the goal.

At the 17 minute mark, the Slovaks tied up the game at two thanks to an excellent wrist shot into the far corner of the German net by Martin Andrisik, who raced down his off wing after receiving a pass from Bondra.

The play leveled out as both teams didn’t want to make a mistake. In this phase, Germany started showing some nerves and Slovakia found a few holes in the defense. Fortunately for Germany, Berger was ready for everything and ate up every shot he could touch. Until the 8:43 mark.

Coming out of their zone on what could have been a 3-on-2 attack, Germany lost the puck on a misguided pass that then allowed Slovakia to enter the zone on a 2-on-1 rush. Bondra took a shot that was stopped by Berger, but captain Peter Valent was standing next to the crease, found the puck lying behind the German goalkeeper, and quickly stuffed it in for the 3-2 lead.
Germany spent the next shift frantically trying to tie things up and possibly could have were it not for some diving defenders and a sharp Huska in goal. This pressure did not let up for the next four minutes as Germany managed to put a number of pucks on and just by the goal.

And then it happened! With just 4:40 to play, and with a face-off in the Slovakian zone, the Germans gained control of the puck actually pushed forward by the Slovakian taking the draw and was fired in quickly by German defenseman Lukas Kalble. Suddenly, the game was tied at three.

The excitement didn’t end there. With only 1:50 to play in the period, Slovakia was assessed with a penalty, allowing Germany to end the period on a power play. Despite furious Slovakian zone play and pressure, the Slovaks were able wind down regulation play without allowing a goal, sending the game to overtime.

Nothing was solved in 4-on-4 play for five minutes, despite several chances by each team. The game had to be decided in overtime and after 16 year old Samuel Solensky scored on Slovakia's second shot, it was up to Huska to do the rest and that he did, stopping all three shots, ensuring the 4-3 victory for the Slovaks.

“The feeling in the locker room is great. We feel very relieved. The Germans played a tough game and those were a hard two points for us,” described Slovakian defenseman Mario Grman.

“The better team lost,” contested German coach Jim Setters, and explained, “The boys played their hearts out. They barely gave the Slovaks a chance. They outshot them roughly two to one. They got some cheap goals and we lost. Now we have to regroup. Tomorrow we face the USA and they’re probably the best collective team in the tournament.”

Germany outshot Slovakia 42 to 23 and will play their last game of the preliminary round tomorrow in Lucerne against the USA at 2:45 pm. Anything but three points will see them in the relegation round, starting Thursday this week.


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