STOCKHOLM – Norway defeated rival Denmark 6-2 to end the Preliminary Round with another offensive explosion led by Patrick Thoresen. Norway now moves into the IIHF World Championship quarterfinal on Thursday.
Five goals in the second period paced the attack and gave Norway a lead that would not be challenged. The Norwegian offensive onslaught continued for a second straight game, scoring 17 goals in its last two games.
"I think it was important for us to have a good game today, and we came out and showed that we deserve to be in the quarter-final," said Mathis Olimb. "We’re going to take the positive energy from this game with us into the quarter-final."
Today’s game featured two national teams headed in very different directions. Coming into the game Norway had already earned a quarter-final spot while Denmark had avoided relegation.
These teams met twice before at the World Championships with Norway winning both, including, most recently, an overtime victory in the 2009 tournament.
Norway took control over the game in the second period with five unanswered goals that deflated Denmark and led to their frustration and abandoning their game plan. Norway pressed the action, forcing turnovers deep in the Danish end of the ice.
"In the second, we turned it up a notch and got some goals and controlled it from there," said Mats Trygg. "It was a good effort."
Once again Thoresen was the hero, scoring goal and three points in the period. Morten Ask would also add a goal and assist in the period.
At 6:12 with a delayed penalty to Morten Green with Lars Erik Spets tipping in a Morten Ask shot to give Norway the first lead of the game.
Per-Åge Skrøder and Jonas Holøs also scored in the period. Holøs has also enjoyed an exceptional tournament with four goals in seven Preliminary Round games.
A frustrated Denmark lost its collective cool in the period as the game was further out of reach. Frans Nielsen was assessed two roughing penalties, as did Jannik Hansen who was also given a game misconduct.
"Obviously there was some frustration," said Morten Green. "They were scoring on every shot there. So at 3-0, the game was basically over, and that was a tough blow for us."
Norway was defensively soft again in the third period as they had been against Germany allowing Denmark to get on the scoreboard with a pair of goals.
Morten Madsen and Morten Poulsen scored Denmark’s goals in the final frame. Trygg added his fifth of the tournament for good measure at 15:39. Skrøder and Thoresen picked up assists.
Norway’s offensive turnaround in this tournament has been spectacular against two decent teams in Germany and Denmark. With 32 goals, Norway trails only Canada in team scoring with 35. Thoresen took over the lead in tournament scoring with 16 points.
For Denmark the 2012 World Championships were filled with promise and ended in disappointment. The silver lining here is that they survive to see another top division World Championships where they will undoubtedly carry high expectations once again but not before reassessing what happened in Stockholm.
Norway now moves into the quarter-finals against either Russia or Sweden on Thursday at Globe Arena. That match-up will feature the two high-octane offences and individual leading scorers here in Stockholm.
"We’ve done well so far, but we’re not happy," said Trygg. "We want to try to go further. Everything is a bonus from now. We’re not the favourites, that’s for sure, so we can just go out, play and have fun. We’ll try to perform the way we have."