Denmark throws the match ball in a costly slump at the World Cup in ice hockey


The Danish ice hockey national team’s chances of reaching the quarter-finals at the World Cup have suddenly become much smaller.

Denmark missed the ‘match ball’ against Germany, who won 6-4 and are big favorites to grab the ticket to the next round right in front of the Danes.

If, as expected, the Germans make a clean sweep in the last three preliminary games, Denmark must pick up five points against the great powers USA, Sweden and Finland to progress.

It’s not impossible, but it also doesn’t seem obvious after Thursday’s defeat and the way it came about.

After a nice, nice start, the Danish team was completely thrashed in the second period by a group of far more aggressive Germans, who completely dominated.

The middle 20 minutes were a pain to get through for the Danish players, who spent almost the entire period in their own zone and at times seemed decidedly bewildered.

It was here that the Danes threw away the chance to take the victory that would have brought them millimeters from the third World Cup quarter-final in the history of Danish ice hockey.

The match turned upside down after a Danish dream start

Otherwise, Denmark got off to a dream start with a leading goal after just five minutes of play. Matias Lassen’s shot hit a German defender on the way and cheated the goalkeeper.

In the first period, Denmark seemed perfectly prepared for the task. The German players were not allowed to establish themselves in the Danish zone, and from a defensive point of view the Danes were constantly on the lookout for counter chances.

From the start of the second period, however, the match was turned completely on its head. Long before Alexander Ehl’s goal to make it 1-1 after nine minutes, it was clear in which direction the performance was moving.

Shortly after the equalizer, Frederik Dichow made a mistake on a high puck, so that JJ Peterka could put the Germans in front. And when Moritz Müller made it 3-1 two minutes before the break, the Danish team was on the way to disintegration.

It says something about the game picture that Denmark had only one controlled attack in the Germans’ zone in the entire second period.

Mathias Bau, on the other hand, made the most of it by firing the puck into the German net for an almost miraculous reduction with 23 seconds left in the period.

Danish joy lasted only 20 seconds

The goal gave new courage, and in the third period the team also recovered some of the rhythms from the start of the match.

There was more speed in the skates and much more targeted attacking play. But the Germans played with great discipline and did not take a single sending off in the whole match. Thus, Denmark’s most dangerous World Cup weapon, the power play, was eliminated.

But five minutes before time, the fourth chain found the key against the German defense for the second time. Christian Wejse received the puck close to the goal and equalized at 3-3.

However, the joy only lasted for 20 seconds. The German back Jonas Müller scored what was to be the winning goal in a situation where Frederik Dichow otherwise had a clear view of the puck.

The possibility of a Danish venture in the final phase was thwarted by an expulsion. And when national coach Heinz Ehlers replaced Dichow with a field player anyway, the Germans simply sent the puck into the empty goal.

Markus Lauridsen created a little hope with a shot reduction 30 seconds before time, but the Germans responded again with a score in an empty net.

Denmark is now forced to create more surprises in the last three group games. The first possibility is Saturday noon against the USA, who have maximum points.


Source: Politiken.dk – Forsiden by politiken.dk.

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