CRIMMITSCHAU/DRESDEN – The hometown fans could not ask for a better start for Team Germany, as the hosts vanquished Switzerland 4-1 in their opening game. In Dresden, Canada showed off silky smooth passing and a tough defence in beating the Czechs 5-0. It was a rough go for Slovakia and Norway, who fell to the Americans and Swedes by a combined score of 18-3. Mika Zibanejad starred for Team Sweden, while eight different players lit the lamp for the US.
Germany vs. Switzerland 4-1 (2-0, 1-1, 1-0) Game Sheet Photos
CRIMMITSCHAU – With a capacity home crowd of over 3053 spectators behind them in the hockey-crazy town of Crimmitschau, it was time for the hosts Germany to take to the ice. In typically Teutonic fashion, the Germans did not let the pressure to perform affect their nerves, instead riding a wave of momentum in the first period to jump out to a 2-0 lead over the Swiss, courtesy of a pair of goals from Tobias Rieder.
The Germans, who are hoping for a strong showing in this year’s tournament after being promoted to the top division, did not take their foot off the pedal through the next two periods. Switzerland’s Dario Simeon cut the lead down to 3-1 following German forward Killian Keller’s goal in the second period, but in the third period it was all Deutschland as Daniel Fischbuch scored an empty netter to make it 4-1 and push the Crimmitschau crowd into a frenzy.
The star of the game was German goaltender Marvin Cupper, who stopped 44 of 45 Swiss shots to keep his team ahead. The Krefelder EV product earned player of the game honours for Team Germany, and will enjoy being the toast of Crimmitschau for the length of the tournament.
Canada vs. Czech Republic 5-0 (3-0, 0-0, 2-0) Game Sheets Photos
DRESDEN – Thursday evening was the Canadians’ turn to step on the ice for their first tournament match. Their opponents were the Czechs, who turned in a surprising 2-1 victory over Sweden the night before.
Early on it became apparent that Canada wasn’t going to take their opponent lightly, as the first period saw three quick goals by the Canadians. Forward Eric Locke broke the deadlock just over a minute into the game, getting the puck alone in front of the net off a slap pass from defenceman Ryan Murphy and slipping it past the Czech goalkeeper.
Canada tallied another goal soon after when Alan Quine made a great cross ice pass to Morgan Rielly, who fired a wrist shot to the top corner to make it 2-0. A next goal from Mark Scheifele put the lead to three goals heading into the second period.
While his teammates were busy putting points up on the board, Canadian goaltender Malcolm Subban did not have much to do in the first two periods, needing to make only a handful of saves. As for the Czechs, penalties throughout the second period prevented any comeback attempts. By the end of the period the Czech attackers seemed slow on their skates and tired after spending so much time on the defensive. However, Canada mustered only four shots on net, none of them goals, and the 3-0 lead remained unchanged.
Despite staying out of penalty trouble for most of the third period, the Czechs weren’t able to get many scoring chances on Subban. That left the door open for the Canadians to increase the lead, and they did just that with another score from Mark Scheifele and a power play goal by Ryan Murray, who deflected a shot from defender Ryan Murphy to put his team up 5-0.
“We got a lot of players coming in who each play differently and have their own style,” said Subban after the game. “But if we can build on this and get some real chemistry going then we’ll be a tough team to beat.”
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)