Monday, December 22, 2008

Austria Back at the Top Level

Press Release

AALBORG, Denmark – Denmark led the tournament for the last two days but Austria sprinted to the gold medal in the last period of the meeting between the teams to win 8-3. Austria rejoins the best U20 teams after five years at Division I level. Norway secured the bronze medal.

Denmark vs. Austria 3-8 (0-0, 2-3, 1-5)

The third time proved to be a charm for Austria, which earned the promotion back to the top U20 level after an 8-3 win against Denmark that included three, third-period empty net goals.

The last time Austria played with the elite nations was in 2004 in Finland when NHL star Thomas Vanek was eligible. Since then, the nation finished in second place twice in Division I: Last year behind Germany and the year before after an overtime defeat against Kazakhstan.

The game started with a scoreless first period. The shot-on-goal stats show how close the game was in the first 40 minutes. Denmark, which just needed a point to win the tournament, had an 11-10 advantage in the first period, while Austria had 12-11 in the second.

The middle stanza began and ended with Danish goals by Jeppe Henriksen and Lasse Holgård, but ultimately Austria came out of the first 40 minutes with a 3-2 lead. The Austrian goals were scored by three different lines, with two tallies coming moments after power-play situations.

Forward Dominique Heinrich shot the puck in, as did Stefan Ulmer, the scoring leader of the tournament. Thomas Hundertpfund also got credit for a self-goal by Dane Lasse Lassen.

Dane Lars Eller tied the game at three with his power-play goal 44 seconds into the third period and also hit the crossbar few minutes later. But after the surge, the Austrians got the momentum back on their side. Hundertpfund added his second goal at 46:49 with 4-vs-4 and Patrick Maier made it a two-goal lead five minutes later.

Denmark coach Olaf Eller pulled goalkeeper Frederik Andersen but Silvio Jakobitsch scored the 6-3 goal in an empty net at 57:35.

The Danes didn’t give up. With a penalty called against Austria, Andersen was pulled again, but six seconds later, Stefan Bacher scored on the 4-on-6. Andersen was pulled for a third time after another Austrian had to go to the sin bin. Denmark had a six-against-three-skater advantage for 44 seconds, but it was again Bacher who scored an empty-netter. Austria won with the final score of 8-3.

„We deserved the promotion as we dominated the tournament and won our games clearly apart from the match against Italy,” Austria’s team manager Peter Schramm said. “I have to pay these boys a big compliment.”

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

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