Jakobsen Norway’s OT hero

Denmark must now fight for top division survival

29.04.2009
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Zurich  SWITZERLAND

Norway celebrates a goal during its 5-4 victory. Photo: Jukka Rautio / HHOF-IIHF Images

ZURICH-KLOTEN – Tommy Jakobsen scored at 1:11 of overtime to give Norway a 5-4 win over Denmark to claim that cherished third spot in Group D. As a result, the Norwegians move on to the Qualifying Round to play Belarus tomorrow afternoon in Kloten while Denmark plays Germany in Berne on May 1 in the Relegation Round. Jakobsen, playing in his record-tying 17th World Championship, has been the team's captain since 2006. "It was a great win and a nice team effort," said Norwegian forward Mats Zuccarello Aasen. "This was our key game, and we knew it before the tournament. We've been preparing for this game for a long time." In the last several years the Norwegians and Danes have played two major games. In 2002, Denmark beat Norway in Division I to earn promotion to the top at Norway’s expense. Then, this past February, it was Norway’s turn as it rallied to beat Denmark 5-3 in the Olympic qualification tournament for Vancouver 2010.

Today, it was Norway’s turn again. "It was a tough game, but we let in a couple of easy goals, especially in the first period," Dane Kasper Degn admitted. "But we felt we got better as the game moved along. It was tough loss, but we know what it means to be down." The first period was back and forth with plenty of good scoring chances both ways. Denmark got on the board first, at 4:56, off a scramble in the slot. The initial shot was stopped by Pal Grotnes, but Alexander Sunsdberg was right there to scoop the puck into the open net.

It was a short-lived lead, however. Just 44 seconds later Patrick Thoresen tied the game when his shot in the slot trickled over the goal line as Patrick Galbraith sprawled to trap it with his glove.

Denmark answered midway through the period off a scramble to the side of Grotnes’s net. The goalie lunged for a loose puck, but Kim Lykkeskov got to it first, came around the other side and fed it to the top of the circle where captain Jesper Damgaard was waiting with stick cocked. His accurate slapshot found the open side of the goal.

Again, though, Norway tied the game, this time with a short-handed goal off a two-on-one rush. Lars Erik Spets carried the puck the length of the ice, and Damgaard, chasing, hooked him as they approached the goal. The referee signaled a penalty, but Spets cleverly passed the puck behind him to a waiting Anders Bastiansen, and he had an open net.

Morten Green put the Danes ahead for a third time just 1:02 into the second period off another rebound. Mikkel Boedker’s shot was stopped by Grotnes, but Green smacked home the loose puck for a 3-2 lead.

Late in the period, though, the never-say-die Norwegians tied the score for a third time, this on a power play and the result of another scramble, Tore Vikingstad getting his stick on a loose puck and beating a diving Galbraith at 16:18.

Norway finally took the lead for the first time on the power play early in the third period. Mats Zuccarello Aasen had several whacks at the puck in front of Galbraith before finally knocking it past the fallen goalie.

Denmark came right back on their own power play as Daniel Nielsen’s blast from the point sailed over the glove of Grotnes to tie the score for a fourth time. That set the stage for Jakobsen’s overtime heroics.


ANDREW PODNIEKS

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