The win means ROC will play for 5th place on Tuesday while Germany will go home in 8th place.
"This was an important game for us because we are playing for fifth place, which would give us the right to be in Group A for the next world championship," winning coach Yevgeni Bobariko noted. "After yesterday's game the girls were burned out emotionally, but they did a great job today to do what it took to win the game. They fought hard."
It was a brutally tough game to play for both teams, and for a multitude of reasons. For ROC, they had to get over a devastating loss to the Swiss yesterday in a game they led 2-0 for most of it before losing, 3-2, in overtime.
"It was difficult for us because we knew we didn't have a chance to win a medal anymore," acknowledged Veronika Korzhakova, who scored the tying goal early in the third period today. "But it was a new day and a new game. We rebooted and had a fresh mind, fresh legs, fresh everything."
For Germany, they were stepping back on the ice just 17 hours after losing to Canada, 7-0. But it wasn’t the loss that hurt; it was the fact that coach Thomas Schadler had only 16 skaters yesterday and he was down to 15 today after Jule Schiefer was ruled out of today’s game.
"It was a tough game yesterday, but today we gave everything we had again and we stuck together as a team," said a tired Bernadette Karpf.
"The experience is what counts for us," said Schadler. "We had really good games at a high level. These games challenge our team to play their best at all times. They're not used to this in league play. When they make a mistake with their club team, nothing happens, but here, when you make a mistake, most of the time the other team scores a goal. We need that, to develop our game for the future."
ROC also had the only power play of the opening 20 minutes, but the German PK did a great job of preventing any serious chances.
Both teams came to life in the second, but somehow the exhausted Germans found a way to be the better team. They got the game’s first goal at 3:49 off a nice stretch pass by Tanja Eisenschmid up the left side to sister Nicola. Nicola raced into the ROC end and fired a great shot over the outstretched glove of Nadezhda Morozova to make it 1-0.
Just two minutes later, however, ROC tied the game when Anna Savonina held onto the puck, cut to the middle, and wristed a high shot of her own over Franziska Albl’s glove. ROC then had two great chances to pull ahead, but Alexandra Vafina hit the post and Oxana Bratisheva was stopped point blank by Albl.
Just when it appeared teams were done scoring, Kerstin Spielberger put the Germans ahead again after a faceoff win. Her long shot beat Morozova at 17:22, and coach Yevgeni Bobariko was none too pleased, replacing her immediately with Valeria Merkusheva.
ROC wasted no time tying the game in the final period, scoring at 1:10 after some good puck movement in the German end. Goncharenko's point shot bounced around in front before landing on the stick of Korzhakova, who was alone to the back side of the play. She flipped the puck in from a bad angle, putting teams on even terms again.
Three minutes later, they regained the lead off the rush. Fanuza Kadirova made a great play down the right side and found Bratisheva in front. Bratisheva waited a split second for Albl to commit to the shot, then lifted the puck over the goalie's shoulder.
Germany still fought valiantly and but for some bad luck might have tied the game. Lena Dusterhoft hit the crossbar for Germany a while later, and they had a two-skater advantage for 18 seconds that yielded nothing. Late in the game, in a mad scramble, they did eveyrhing but push the puck over the goal line.
And so ROC continues on while the Germans go home, battered, bruised, but a better team for their efforts all the same.