HERNING, Denmark – Norway is back in the top division of the World U18 Championship after defeating Denmark 5-4 in the deciding game. That means both Germany and Norway return to the elite nations next year after just one year in Division I.
The Norwegians suffered a setback during the tournament when losing 5-4 to France on Day 2, but when facing the undefeated host Denmark in the last game of the tournament in Herning, luck changed to Norway’s side in the Nordic clash.
The 2,081 spectators saw Denmark dominate the game with 48 shots on goal vs. 32 for Norway. On top of that the Danes took a 3-1 lead after the second period.
Norway, however, didn’t give up and performed well in the last 20 minutes. Jonas Knutsen cut the lead after just 48 seconds of third-period action before a power-play goal from blueliner Carl Christian Tonseth at 45:25 tied the game at three.
With the third unanswered goal at 55:46, Nicholas Weberg gained the lead for Norway. Just 56 seconds later, Rasmus Bjerrum scored the Danes fourth goal to tie the game.
Norway wasn't down and still believed a win was possible. Coach Orjan Lovdal pulled his goalkeeper Lars Volden for the last two minutes as only a win in regulation time would be sufficient to reach first place and to make up for the defeat against France.
With six skaters on the ice, Knutsen scored his second goal at 59:12 to make it 5-4 in favour of Norway. This time it was Denmark who pulled their goalkeeper. But the score remained as it was and the Norwegian players could celebrate their Division I title. With eight underaged players on the roster it is very likely some of them will make the journey to the top division next year.
Denmark had to settle for silver while the other positions in the tournament ended with one or the other surprise.
Japan, the fifth-seeded team, won the Division I bronze. Although the Asians were not close to beat Norway or Denmark, they succeeded against Austria (7-5), France (4-0) and Korea (12-5) and sent positive signals to maybe earn a top division spot in the men’s category some time in the future. The Japanese finish the 2010 World U18 Championship program 15th overall.
France finished the tournament in fourth place while newly-promoted Korea surprisingly survived in Division I as the fifth-ranked team and sent Austria to Division II. The Koreans beat Austria 4-3 in shootout in their mutual game as the Austrians couldn’t capitalize on their chances while outshooting their opponents 57-30.
For Austria this means a major setback after their U20 national team had just played in the top division in Canada earlier this year while the Koreans could enjoy another historic event after their club team Anyang Halla won the Asia League.
Best Goalkeeper: Lars Volden (Norway)
Best Defenceman: Jannik Christensen (Denmark)
Best Forward: Nicklas Jensen (Denmark)
More information: Scores & Statistics, Photo Gallery