MEGÈVE/GDANSK – Germany and Norway qualified for the 2011 World U20 Championship in the United States after winning their deciding games on Sunday against Denmark and Italy, respectively, in Division I.
Group A in France / Statistics, Photos
One year in Division I was enough for the German U20s, which won Group A in Megève and Saint-Gervais, France, with a perfect 5-0-0 record.
After lopsided wins against Japan (9-0), Slovenia (6-0) and Ukraine (6-2) the Germans faced last year’s silver and bronze medallists.
The Germans struggled against host France. Despite a 40-16 shot-on-goal advantage, Germany trailed 1-0 for much of the game after Nicolas Ritz’s power play 4:45 into action. Germany finally responded when Daniel Weiss equalized 50 seconds into the third period. Weiss put in the game-winning 2-1 goal with 11 minutes left in regulation.
Despite some penalty trouble during the remainder of the game, the Germans preserved the lead.
The win set up a winner-takes-all game came on Sunday against Denmark. This time the Germans capitalized on their scoring chances. Tobias Rieder had two goals in the 4-0 victory, Riefers Riefers and Simon Fischhaber scored the other goals.
Slovenia took home the bronze medals after a 2-1 victory against France, a loss that sent France to Division II. The French had only one win on opening day against Ukraine, which finished in fourth place, but they lost the crucial game against Japan on the second game day.
Best Goalkeeper: Nikolaj Noerbak (Denmark)
Best Defenceman: Markus Lauridsen (Denmark)
Best Forward: Jerome Flaake (Germany)
Germany will be back in the top division after one year.
Group B in Poland / Statistics, Photos
The Italian fell short of a miracle in Poland. Italy had a strong start with early win against two of the favourites, Belarus and Kazakhstan, but the winning streak came to an end in the last two games.
Italy lost to host Poland, 1-0, despite a 52-13 shots advantage. Damian Kapica scored the lone goal. Despite the loss, Italy still had a chance to win the tournament in the last game against Norway.
Norway beat Poland (5-2), Croatia (18-2) and Kazakhstan (4-2) while they lost one point in a 3-2 shootout win against Belarus.
In the close game against Belarus, the Norwegians were more efficient in front of the net. Goalkeeper Lars Volden saved all shootout shots for Norway. Volden already had 45 saves before the game went to the shootout. Scott Winkler scored the only goal with the sixth and last shot of the shootout competition.
Norway also had a close game against Italy. Rasmus Juell gave Norway the lead at 22:49, but Italy remained a strong contender until the last period.
When the referees called a penalty shot at 53:51, Winkler was once again the hero. Just over a minute later, Joakim Erbe sealed the victory with the 3-0 goal.
Norway won the tournament and qualified for the 2011 World Juniors while Belarus took silver and Italy, bronze.
Norway has played in the top division six times, the last time in 2006.
Kazakhstan finished in fourth place while the game against relegation ended with a surprise. Last year’s promoted team Croatia, which had four losses with three of them with ten or more goals against, beat Poland 6-5. Both teams had three points in the standings, but thanks to the victory in the mutual game, Croatia stayed in Division I while Poland moves down Division II next year.
Norway’s Scott Winkler, who was the scoring leader with 14 points (6+8), was named Best Forward. Vyacheslav Raitsov, who was the defenceman with the most points (6) and the +/- leader (+10), was named the Best Defenceman, while Italy’s Andreas Bernard was selected Best Goalkeeper.