KOSICE – Anders Bastiansen had one goal and three assists to lead Norway to a 5-0 win over Austria on the final day of Preliminary Round competition. The win gives Norway 5 points and clinches a spot for them in the Qualification Round. Austria has three losses and will now have to play in the Relegation Round, where they will attempt to stay in the top level for the 2012 IIHF World Championship.
Austria vs. Norway 0-5 (0-3, 0-1, 0-1) Game Sheet Photos
"We were nervous before the game because we knew that the tournament was going to come down to this game," said Morten Ask. "We came out a little shaky, but after that we crushed them. They didn't have a chance."
Norway opened the scoring 6:26 into the first period with a goal that would have made the 1980s Oilers proud. Bastiansen skated into the Austrian zone along the right wing, then turned towards the boards and dangled for just a second (ala Gretzky) and hit the trailer – Eerikki Koivu (ala Coffey) – with a perfect pass and he walked in and scored – 1-0 Norway (and to be fair, that ended any and all similarity to the 1980s Oilers).
"I got the puck from Morten [Ask], I went in and turned around, and Mathis [Olimb] went to the net," recounted Bastiansen. "That opened up the whole area for the defenceman, so it wasn't the hardest pass to make."
Mathis Olimb scored at 9:31 to put Norway up 2-0. He was the last link in a lovely three-way passing play – Bastiansen from the right side to Lars Erik Spets on the left side to Olimb to finish in front.
A power play goal 56 seconds later from Jonas Holøs made it 3-0 Norway and that was, for all intents and purposes, it.
"They have a much better team then us," said Austrian forward Oliver Setzinger afterwards. "They skate better and they get to play at a higher level all year. They're just a much better team than us."
Spets scored on the power play with 19 seconds remaining in the second period to put the Polar Bears up 4-0. Some great work by Bastiansen in behind the net eventually got the puck out to Spets for the goal.
Bastiansen scored his only goal of the game at 9:51 of the third. He picked up a bouncing puck just off the edge of the crease and fired it past Austrian goalie Jürgen Penker to make it 5-0 Norway.
"We played really well defensively," said Bastiansen. "We focused on doing a lot of things well – like blocking shots, letting the goalie see the puck and clearing rebounds."
Bastiansen, playing in his his sixth World Championship, is coming off a great playoff run in the Swedish Elitserien with Färjestad Karlstad. The big veteran forward led the league champions in playoff scoring and he has barely missed a beat here in Kosice, leading Norway in scoring with seven points (three goals, four assists) in three games.
"Since we won the championship with Färjestad, and now that we've gotten through to the second round here, this has been one of my best years," said Bastiansen. "I don't think people were expecting much from us this year."
Anders Fredriksen of Norway was awarded a penalty shot 8:21 into the third period when he was hooked up on a chance by Oliver Setzinger. He was stopped. There have now been seven penalty shot calls in the tournament so far – six of the seven shooters have come away empty.