MALMÖ – Germany got the only two goals of the third period to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 win to tie the best-of-three relegation series 1-1.
"We talked about wanting to be disciplined and stick with our game plan and good things will come," said German forward Leon Draisaitl, who had two goals for the victors. "We fought hard and tried to keep it easy."
"We didn't have a good game," acknowledged Norway's captain, Erlend Lesund. "We played too much as individuals and not enough as a team."
The Norwegians got the early jump with a goal just 3:32 from the opening faceoff. Jørgen Karterud’s quick shot seemed to catch Marvin Cüpper unawares, giving Norway a 1-0 lead.
"We talked about keeping going, not getting frustrated," Draisaitl added. "We knew we'd get our chances, and that's what happened."
The Germans were not put off by the early goal and kept skating. They were rewarded just two minutes later on a similar play. Sven Ziegler stopped the puck along the boards at the Norway blue line and wristed a quick shot to the goal. Defenceman Mattias Nørstebø screened goalie Joachim Svendsen, though, and the lazy shot found the far corner.
Another two minutes later it was the Germans who took their first lead. This time a bad line change allowed Germany to create a two-on-one. Dominik Kahun made a nice pass to Draisaitl, who connected with his one-timer to make it 2-1.
The Norwegians seemed to take control in the second period, though. Simen Nielsen wafted a light backhander through a maze of players at 3:58 to tie the game, and then Germany ran into greater trouble later when Lukas Laub took a five-minute major and game misconduct penalty for hammering Lesund into the end boards.
Norway struck soon after. Jens Tønjum took a shot which Cüpper stopped, but Tim Robin Johnsgård banged away at the rebound until the puck found its way into the net. The Norwegians had the lead again, 3-2, although Germany did well to kill the rest of the penalty off without incident.
"We wanted to focus on keep doing what we were doing," Lesund said. "But we didn't pay enough attention to details, and it cost us."
Indeed, it did. Germany tied the game at 6:25 of the third thanks to a terrible series of giveaways by the Norwegians. The end result was that Patrick Klöpper got the puck in the corner and passed in front to a wide open Markus Eisenschmid, who made no mistake with his wrist shot.
Just over a minute later, another loose play allowed Draisaitl to rip a hard shot from the top of the faceoff circle to give Germany the lead again, 4-3.