Sunday, May 13, 2012
It was another memorable day at the 2012 World Championships in Helsinki and Stockholm. The first game of the day saw the United States regroup after their disappointing overtime win over last place Kazakhstan and shock the home fans with a 5-0 blanking of Finland. The United States opened the scoring at 16:19 of the first period and extend their lead to 3-0 after two, but ever mindful of the comebacks by Canada and Russia on Friday, no one thought this one was in the bank for the Americans until they extended their lead to 5-0 by the fifth minute of the third period. For the game, the US outshot Finland 31-18 in a dominating performance which lifts them into second place behind Canada's 16 points with 13.
Finland and Slovakia are now at 12 following Slovakia's tight 1-0 win over Switzerland later in the day. All four teams have played the number of games with 6, and all look to be moving on to the playoffs, as it would take a virtual miracle for France to defeat both Belarus and Slovakia to just draw even with Slovakia on points.
In Group S, Russia continued to play stellar defense in a 2-0 shutout over the Czech Republic. To date, Russia has only allowed 8 goals in 6 games, the lowest in the tournament.
The late game in Stockholm was a critical battle for the fourth an final transfer spot to the playoffs and mighty, mighty Norway steamrolled Germany 12-4. Yes, 12-4. Christoph Schubert summed it up thusly, "It was probably one of the worst days in German hockey history."
Patrick Thoresen scored twice in the first minute and half for a quick 2-0 lead. They would add a third goal before the first period had ended and pumped in six straight in the second before Germany managed their first. The teams then traded goals throughout the third period for the final score as Thoresen finished with 3 goals and 6 points, Mads Hansen had 5, Morten Ask 4, Per-Age Skrøder 3 and five others had 2 each for the victors. The Norwegian outburst was all the more impressive when you consider their first three goals chased German goaltender Dennis Endras, the 2010 World Championships MVP, from the net, and he returned for the third period only to give up three more.
Norway now looks to be in the diver's seat for fourth place with 10 points, as Latvia, with a game in hand, is 4 points back, with Germany now eliminated. Latvia must now win both of their remaining games against Denmark and Sweden to gain a minimum of 5 points to surpass Norway, who now are a +12 over Latvia in goal differential and have a final game against winless Denmark remaining on their schedule.
Tomorrow's schedule has must-win games for France against Belarus and Latvia against Denmark. Finland looks to right their ship against Kazakhstan and Russia meets Italy in what should be an easy one for the Group S leaders.