Slovakia took advantage of its scoring chances early and skated to a convincing 9-2 win over Germany this afternoon.
The win, at the Isstadion in Malmö, moves Slovakia a step closer to the playoffs in the process and was powered by the top line of Milan Kolena (two goals, one assist)-Martin Reway (two goals, two assists)-David Griger (four assists).
The loss leaves the Germans with an 0-2 record and games against the United States and Czech Republic left in the preliminary round. They will need a bit of luck and a lot of good play if they are to avoid fifth and final place in the Group A standings.
The last team in each group square off for a best two-of-three relegation series while the top eight teams play elimination playoff games after the New Year.
Today’s game was decided early as the Slovaks scored two power-play goals in the opening period. They opened the scoring at 3:33 when captain Kolena nudged his rebound past goalie Marvin Cüpper just 13 seconds into the game’s first power play. The Slovaks celebrated exuberantly, fully aware the early lead in a pivotal game was crucial for success.
Marko Dano made it 2-0 at 12:38 when goalie Cüpper inadvertently redirected a pass out front right onto the stick of Dano, who made no mistake with the close-in chance. David Griger closed out the scoring when he snapped a nice one-timer over the shoulder of Cüpper, again on the power play.
The Germans were unable to mount any offence, recording only one shot in the opening 20 minutes.
Although they managed to generate a few chances and scored once in the second period, it wasn’t nearly enough. The Slovaks made it 4-0 early when Dano was again left alone at Cüpper’s crease, but Germany came right back with a quick score of its own.
Leon Draisaitl made a nice pass in tight to Dominik Kahun, and he beat Richard Sabol with an accurate shot. Two more goals from the Slovaks put the game out of reach and Cüpper on the bench in favour of backup Patrick Klein.
Germany got one goal back in the third when Janik Moser's point shot was tipped in by Kahun, but the Slovaks struck for two more goals soon after. Stanislav Horansky got the final goal with just under three minutes remaining.
The Germans play the United States on Sunday while Slovakia next plays, against Canada, on Monday.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)