ZURICH-KLOTEN – Despite a sluggish start, Denmark rallied to come back and beat Hungary with goals from Kim Staal and Mads Christensen en route to a 5-1 win. The victory puts Denmark on course to meet Austria and determine who stays up in the top division of the World Championships.
Since 2003, Denmark has been in the top division of the World Championships and they have worked hard in staying there.
With Germany secure in their place among the top nations, owing to the fact they are hosting the 2010 World Championships, there is only one spot available to stay up, leaving Denmark, Hungary, and Austria battling it out in the Relegation Round.
There was plenty of action to start the game. Inside of a minute, Nichlas Hardt registered an early chance that got Denmark into the flow of the game. Hungary would give as good as they got in the first period, countering effective and pushing to score. Janos Vas countered with a great wrist shot that was stopped.
Hungary would get on the board first.
Daniel Fekete absorbed a hit along the boards in the neutral zone but just before than happened he was able to get off a short pass that sent Krisztian Palkovics off the races. Palkovics faked goaltender Patrick Galbraith who went down and put a backhander in the wide open net at 15:10.
Denmark seemed flat. Their passes weren’t as crisp as they could have been and there seemed a certain early afternoon lethargy that comes with playing so much hockey in a short tournament like this one.
"During the first intermission our coach told us to take it easy and that we still had 40 minutes to play. If we just keep working they will get tired and we will start scoring."
Denmark would have a 5-on-3 for fifty two seconds in the middle of the second period.
This would be the turning point in the game and just what Denmark needed.
"The 5-on-3 was the big turning point in the game," said Damgaard about the two man advantage. "After that goal we took over."
To the right of goaltender Levente Szuper, Kim Staal found a small opening high and on the stick side to tie the game at one. Morten Green and Jesper Daamgard got the assists.
Mads Christensen got the go-ahead goal with 1:25 remaining in the second to put Denmark up 2-1.
Hungary would lose Janos Vas for the game when he picked up a match penalty. With a five-minute powerplay, Denmark made the best of it. Morten Green scored at 8:25 of the period and added a subsequent assist on Morten Madsen’s goal that made it 4-1.
Szuper would leave the game late in the third with a leg injury and replaced by Zoltan Hetenyi, who gave up a goal to Nichlas Hardt.
Denmark’s win sets up a final Relegation Round battle against Austria on Monday, April 4 for 12:15 at Arena Zurich-Kloten to determine who goes to Germany for the 2010 World Championships. Hungary, though valiant their effort, has been relegated.
"We are excited and a little nervous but we will be fine." Damgaard said. "I think we are more skilled with the puck. If we play like we did against Germany we can win."