STOCKHOLM – Fans who attended Norway’s 12-4 romp over Germany on Sunday should hold on to their ticket stubs, because they witnessed something pretty rare.
“It was a crazy game,” said Norway’s Marius Holtet. “We’ve been beaten by double digits before, but not won.”
Patrick Thoresen’s six-point explosion paced the squad in polar bear jerseys to this romp, which was unprecedented for Norway in the modern era. The only other times the Norwegians had scored 10 or more goals in World Championship action were in 1949 (11-1 over Belgium), 1950 (11-0 over France), and 1962 (12-2 over Great Britain), when the international hockey landscape looked very different.
Norway isn’t renowned for its offensive prowess in elite division play. However, hitting double digits is rare in general these days.
Since 2000, seven out of the 12 World Championships played have had no games with double-digit scoring. And when it has happened (2001, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2010), it’s invariably been Big Seven nations thrashing opponents that never or only sporadically make the quarter-finals. (The last time a non-Big Seven country made double digits, it was Austria 10, Great Britain 0 in 1994.)
Czech Republic 11, Italy 0
Sweden 11, Austria 0
Slovakia 10, Japan 1
Finland 12, Slovenia 0
Russia 10, Kazakhstan 1
Canada 11, Latvia 0
Canada 10, Germany 1
United States 10, Kazakhstan 0
Canada 12, Norway 1
So what happened on Sunday is a real change of pace.
In Germany, the Norwegians hammered a foe that had seemed to be solidifying its status as a top-eight nation, finishing fourth on home ice in 2010 and seventh last year.
Norway is bound for its third top-eight finish in the last five years, and now its challenge is to see whether it can establish greater consistency than other recent contenders like Germany, Switzerland, and Belarus.
“Everything went in,” said Norway’s Morten Ask about the Germany shocker. “We’ve never experienced anything like this. We just have to be happy and look forward to the quarter-finals.”