HALIFAX – After a day marred by controversy, Germany lost to Norway 3-2. After taking a 2-0 lead, Germany could not hold on against the determined Norwegians. Morten Ask’s goal with 4:17 remaining gave Norway its first tournament win. Norway and Germany join Finland to the qualification round while Slovakia has to play the relegation series against Slovenia.
"How can I even compare what this means to us," said an exuberant captain Tommy Jakobsen. "After last game we really believed in ourselves and never gave up. Today it paid off."
For Germany, the loss of Jason Holland, who was suspended for eligibility reasons, was a blow for the team. In their last game against Slovakia, Holland registered an assist in 15:51 of ice time.
"We are very disappointed because we missed a great chance today to take three points into the next round," said German forward Stefan Ustorf.
Germany came out with a chip on their shoulders. There were plenty of after whistle scrums, pushing and shoving to keep the referees and linesmen busy. But it was the Norwegians going after pucks and responding in kind.
Buoyed by a vocal contingent of fans in attendance at Halifax Metro Centre, Germany wasted little time in cashing in on a power play. Marco Sturm scored his second goal of the tournament at 6:37 into the period. Ustorf and Florian Busch, who was ruled to remain eligible to play in the tournament, assisted.
Philip Gogulla made it 2-0 at 4:09 into the second period with a great second effort when his initial backhand did not beat Pal Grontes. Staying with the play, Gogulla jammed it home for his first-ever World Championship goal.
Prior to this, Gogulla had seven assists since joining the national team in 2007. Michael Wolf and Michael Hackert both picked up assists.
Norway got back into the game when Marius Holtet put away a chance past Robert Muller. For Holtet it was his first goal of the 2008 IIHF World Championship. It was a power play goal.
"We were too passive and not taking things to them," said Ustorf. "We were waiting for them to do their thing. That's not our game or our strength.
For the second straight game, Norway played strong defense and got timely chances but could not pull even until Mats Zuccarello Aasen scored. Aasen, making his debut for the Norwegian national team, played the third period with the most confidence since making his debut last Saturday against Slovakia.
As with their last game, Norway found themselves tied 2-2 inside of ten minutes. The question now was if they had enough to find themselves on the winning side of matters unlike the game against Finland.
With less than five minutes a critical two-man advantage they would Mats Trygg sent a pass cross ice to Morten Ask who fired a slapshot that beat Muller between the legs.
The answer would be yes, Norway wins this time around.
"This is so great to win this game," said Mathis Olimb. "We thought next game might be in the (Relegation Round) but instead we have a chance at the quarter-finals if we keep playing well. Unbelievable."
Norway takes on Canada tomorrow at 16:30 at the Halifax Metro Centre.