BRECLAV / ZNOJMO – The 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship playoff round got off to a one-sided start on Thursday afternoon, with Finland dominating Germany 8-0. The win sends Finland to the semi-finals to face rivals and Group B winners Sweden.
Finland – Germany 8-0 (2-0, 4-0, 2-0)
BRECLAV – Finland’s speed and offence proved too much for Germany, as the Finns scored eight unanswered goals to win the first quarter-final of the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship 8-0.
Finland got up 2-0 on the Germans in the first period, with goals coming from Aleksi Mustonen and Teuvo Teravainen. The Finns were able put some early pressure on German goaltender Patrick Klein, leading to Mustonen’s goal at 3:26 into the period. Then halfway through the frame, following a German goal that was waved off, Teravainen scored off of a smooth deke that beat the German defender and allowed him enough space to bring the puck past Klein and slip it into the net for the second goal.
“We knew Germany is a tough team and we came out hard at the start to try and get them down early,” said Teravainen, who finished with three points in the game. “ We were able to skate faster and I think that was the key to the victory.”
The Finns ran away with the game in the second period, taking advantage of multiple miscues from the German defenders to score four more goals, coming from Arturri Lehkonen, Denis Shevyrin, Henrik Haapala, and Henri Ikonen. A goaltending change for Germany in the third period did little to stop the Finland offence, as Teravainen added another only 24 seconds into the frame and Haapala scored once more to make it 8-0.
Finland will now advance to the semi-final for the first time since 2010, also the last time the Finns won a medal (bronze) in a U18 men’s tournament. Germany will compete in the placement game against the loser of the Canada-Russia quarter-final. The Germans will try to improve on their sixth-place finish on home ice in 2011.
Czech Republic – Switzerland 2-4 (0-1, 1-1, 1-2)
ZNOJMO – Switzerland got off to a good start in the relegation round, winning its first game of the tournament 4-2 at the expense of the host country Czech Republic.
Nicola Brandi scored on the power play in the third period to put his team ahead 3-1, and Flavio Schmutz added his second of the game with a short-handed goal on the breakaway. Goaltender Melvin Nyffeler held the Czechs to two goals on 27 shots to seal the victory for Switzerland.
The Swiss managed to strike first midway through the opening period, with Flavio Schmutz scoring on the power play. Sandro Zangger added another a minute and a half into the second period. The Czech offence woke up a few minutes after Zannger’s goal, when Ondrej Slovacek scored to cut the lead to one goal, but the team could not produce another until Jan Hudecek scored late in the third period.
Switzerland will face Denmark and the Czechs will take on Latvia on Friday. The three teams which finish first, second and third at the end of this round play again at the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship, while the fourth-place team is relegated to Division I Group A.
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