Germany pushes towards quarterfinals

Germany pushes towards quarterfinals

Markus Nisius13 May 2016Markus Nisius»
 

A big win over Belarus kept Germany in the race for an open quarterfinal spot. The 5-2 defeat lets Belarus focus on the game against Hungary tomorrow to stay on the top level.

 
 
 
 

After a disappointment to start the tournament the German team showed improved performances recently with a big win against Slovakia and a well fought game against Canada yesterday evening. Since Slovakia also lost to Belarus on wednesday a spot in the quarterfinals seems to be up for grabs for countries like Germany and Belarus.

The situation in the standings with both teams just split by one point made this game a crucial one to reach the quarterfinals. Germany headed into the game with a new goalie since New York Islanders netminder Thomas Greiss landed in St. Petersburg two days ago after being eliminated from the NHL playoffs. On the other hand they missed Arizona Coyotes forward Tobias Rieder, who got injured in the clash against Canada when he bumped into Corey Perry in the centre of the ice.

The game started with an early powerplay for Belarus due to a hooking call against Marcel Noebels, but Germany managed to keep the puck out of the danger zone. A minute after Noebels was back Patrick Reimer took the first shot for the central Europeans, which got deflected into the net by Patrick Hager for the 1-0.

NHL star Leon Draisaitl made it a perfect start for Germany another minute later, when he finished a splendid combination through the Belorussian defense by Brooks Macek and Noebels to give his team a 2-0 lead. And the goal scoring kept on going. At the 10:47 minute mark Belarus managed to worsen their already bad penalty kill rate by allowing Felix Schütz to tip in a rebound off the first shot on the powerplay through Philipp Gogulla.

With the first period continuing Belarus started to be more active in their offense and even forced Greiss to show what he had learned in the NHL as he had to reach out far with his pads to make the save twice. A solid backchecking was the key for Germany to return to the locker room with a 3-0 lead.

Eight minutes into the second period it was Andrei Stepanov, who finally got Belarus on the board with a beautiful coast to coast run, deking past two German defenders and beating Greiss on the glove hand side. This sparked Belarus with more energy. Seconds later Greiss could secure the 2-goal lead with a blocker save in the last second and moments after that Marcel Goc was benched for a hooking penalty to give the 2014 World Championship host another attempt at cutting the lead short, but the German defense survived.

Brooks Macek found the perfect answer to the pressure period with a shot from the blue line at the 34:23 mark that found its way into the net right after the commercial break to reestablish the old margin of 3 goals.

Halfway through the last period a big mistake by Greiss got Belarus back in the game. An outlet pass by Yevgeni Lisovets got deflected in the neutral zone through Andrei Stas and everybody was headed for the bench to change lines, but what was supposed to be an easy pick up for Greiss bounced off his stick into the goal.

With time winding down Germany focused on locking down their own end, which resulted in frustration and a penalty to Sergei Kostitsyn with only 2 minutes left on the clock. Gogulla's empty net goal rounded up a successful night for team Germany to a final score of 5-2.

With 7 points Germany sits currently in 4th place, but with one game more than Slovakia. On sunday they will try to bring down team USA to gain more points towards the big goal quarterfinals. On the other side Belarus created their next final game with the loss as they have to focus on the fight against relegation now in tomorrows game versus Hungary.


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