Ice Hockey World Championship quarterfinals: Germany defeats Switzerland and is in the semifinals
Tight, heated, tough: This is how the German national team, headed by national coach Harold Kreis, expected their quarter-finals at the Ice Hockey World Championships on Thursday in Riga against the Switzerland. “We’ll definitely need some ice packs after the game,” said Marcel Noebels. The striker from Eisbären Berlin had made the German entry into the semi-finals perfect two years ago against the same opponent with a fantastically converted penalty. It should be faster this time. After 60 minutes, Germany won 3-1 (1-0, 2-1, 0-0) and will now be playing for their first World Cup medal in 70 years in Tampere on Saturday. Opponents are then the USA, who also won 3-0 against the Czech Republic. “The first few minutes were very, very hard for us, we were really swimming,” said Noebels later. And in the end: “It was again a game as we wanted it to be. Once again an absolute team effort.”
Before this game, Kreis felt the “electricity” in the dressing room, as he said: it crackled. After four wins in a row (after three defeats beforehand), the Germans trusted in their mental strength and refreshed themselves with the memory of three victories against “Nati” in the last three knockout duels. The Swiss, on the other hand, went into the game with the confidence of a group winner. The Germans would “have problems with our speed”, predicted their coach Patrick Fischer. And that’s what the first few minutes looked like.
It crackles in the dressing room: Coach Harold Kreis felt “the electricity” before the game
But Kreis’ team freed itself from this first onslaught and took the lead with a hit that became mental ballast for the opponent: Maximilian Kastner simply spooned the puck to the goal – and it slipped between Robert Mayer’s arm and leg splint and rolled like in slow motion upright to 1:0 over the line (7th).
Surprisingly, Fischer did without Leonardo Genoni and gave preference to Mayer, who was in goal at Servette Geneva. Because of the memories of Riga 2021? At that time Genoni was between the posts.
The Germans were now finally energized. They interfered early and robbed the Swiss of their speed and refrained from all faxes, as NHL professional Nico Sturm had repeatedly asked for. Of course they had respect for this opponent. Defender Leon Gawanke, who scored 44 seconds before the final siren to make it 2-2 in Riga in 2021, said: “The Swiss are even stronger than two years ago.” And after 47 seconds in the second period, Jonas Siegenthaler (New Jersey) equalized; Bad luck for the Germans that the referees had previously overlooked a stick hit against Moritz Seider.
Kastner also got a stick, his nose was bleeding: four minutes for the German team to take the lead again with a majority. But the Swiss, too, were now up to speed. The majority game fizzled out, as did the next; this time, however, because Seider – still grumpy because of the foul on him before the 1: 1 – Gaetan Haas tiled against every craftsman’s rule from behind the gang. With that, the best German defender was out and the Swiss suddenly had more than four minutes for a power play. They couldn’t benefit from it either.
“We scored the goals at the right time,” said striker Marcel Noebels
Well then: As soon as the DEB team was complete again, John-Jason Peterka sent the puck into the net against Mayer’s direction of movement after a fine combination with Dominik Kahun (38th). Even better: just 37 seconds later, Wojciech Stachowiak quickly served Sturm to make it 3-1 after a counterattack with a man down. already the sixth tournament goal for the top scorer in the German team. “We scored the goals at the right time,” said Noebels.
It worked in the minds of the Swiss. Eight times they were in the quarterfinals under Fischer at a major tournament – seven times they ran out of juice and on Thursday the eighth blackout followed. The Germans kept their game simple, had a shot from the post by Justin Schütz and stayed focused.
Six more minutes. Five. What they were thinking could be read on the Swiss faces: Läck me on the Tschöpli, scho again! Three and a half minutes before the end, Fischer took Mayer off the ice, a sixth field player was his last joker. He shouldn’t sting. “We threw everything in and defended really well as a team,” said captain Moritz Müller. Nico Sturm only wished for one thing: “Off to the ice bin!”