Germany GER
12 FEB 2022
China CHN
Preliminary Round
16:40National Indoor Stadium
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Game details
RENEAU Stephen
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Germany sees off battling China
By Andy Potts | 12 FEB 2022
German forward Tom Kuhnhackl watches China goalkeeper Jieruimi Shimisi make a save.
photo: Andrea Cardin / HHOF-IIHF Images
Shuai Fu and Taile Wang wrote their names into Chinese Olympic history when they got their team’s first goals in the men’s tournament in Beijing. Fu, also known as Parker Foo, struck late in the second period against Germany to the delight of the Chinese fans in the National Indoor Stadium, then Wang (Tyler Wong) grabbed a power play tally midway through the third to raise hopes of a shock result for the host nation. However, Germany held on to take a 3-2 verdict in this Group B game as the 2018 silver medallist recorded its first win of the 2022 Games.

"It's pretty crazy but I can't take all the credit," Fu said of his big moment. "It's a whole team effort. It's been a long journey for sure all the way leading up to that goal. Everybody's bought in, so it's definitely not just me, it's the whole team. For me it's a huge honour. I'll definitely remember it for a long time, for sure."

Despite the defeat, China had plenty to be proud of. Beijing-born forward Rudi Ying talked up Saturday's showing. "We're underdogs in this tournament, so we try to come out playing the best we can," he said. "I think today, well, obviously we'd like to win, but I think it's good to prove to the world that we can play at this level. I'm really proud of my teammates and what they were able to do. I hope we can carry that into the following game against Canada."

First-period goals from Marcel Brandt and Korbinian Holzer put the Germans in control and Dominik Kahun added a third in the middle frame before Fu’s big moment. 

In the final session, Taile Wang (Tyler Wong) potted a power play goal to get China back to 2-3. But that was as close as the Dragons could get as they slipped to a second loss here. Germany now moves on to face the USA tomorrow in a game that could decide top spot in Group A and an automatic place in the quarter finals. The Chinese face another daunting examination, this time against Canada.

China’s Olympic debut against Team USA showed that the tournament host needed to generate more offence if it was to offer any chance of a shock result. Ivano Zanatta’s team tried to oblige and, in the early stages of this game, took the initiative. A first-minute wrist shot from Wang tested Mathias Niederberger and the first few exchanges – helped by a too many men penalty for Germany – saw the Chinese play a good share of the game in the German zone. Ye Jinguang (Brandon Yip) had perhaps the best chance in this passage of play, getting in close on the German netminder but failing to beat the Eisbaren Berlin man.

Gradually, though, things began to change. Midway through the opening frame, Germany got the puck in the net when Daniel Pietta slotted home after Moritz Muller went round the back and galloped to the crease. That one was ruled out after a bench challenge: Muller’s enthusiasm sent him barrelling straight into Shimisi Jieriumi (Jeremy Smith) in the Chinese net and the video review concluded this was interference.

Then came Germany’s first power play, well defended by China, and a goal almost as soon as Jie Liu (Jason Fram) returned to the ice. Defenceman Marcel Brandt did it himself, snapping a shot at Shimisi and following up to tuck away the rebound.

The Chinese had another power play chance but by now Germany’s defence was on its game and there was little danger for Niederberger. And, once again, as soon as the teams were back to even strength, a goal followed. Dominik Kahun won an attacking face-off and fed Korbinian Holzer who thumped in a point shot to double the German lead.

"I think we had a good start," said German captain Moritz Muller. "We played the way we wanted to, but then got off our game. I think we got a little too loose and wanted to solve a lot of things too prettily. And that gave China the chance to come back at us. You can't do it against any team.

"That game today could have gone wrong, and we could have got punished for playing too loose. And that's what we're going to take from this game."

The Germans looked to move up a gear at the start of the second period and Kahun tipped home a Muller shot to make it 3-0 early in the middle frame. But China did not lack for spirit. On the power play, Ye (Yip) almost set up Shuai Fu (Parker Foo) in front of the net but on that occasion the forward could not connect. Then Zhang Zesen typified his team’s fighting qualities by crunching Holzer onto the bench. The Chinese forward gives up 14 cm and 34 kg to the imposing German defenceman but was ready to continue his battle despite that physical disadvantage. 

"There was absolutely no quit in our team tonight," Fu added approvingly. "Getting down three, a lot of teams could maybe pack it in at that point but we've been working for so long and been working so hard that we weren't we weren't ready to give up.

"That's definitely going to be a key for us, to play a full 60 minutes every single night if we want to squeeze out a win."

That incident gave the whole team a lift and it wasn’t long before Niederberger was beaten by a vicious Danissi Aoxibofu (Denis Osipov) shot that rattled back off the piping. Then came the historic moment. China worked the puck neatly around the German zone before (Jake Chelios) let off a shot. His effort was blocked and the rebound went to Fu, who gobbled up his chance. The 23-year-old, a 2017 draft pick for the Blackhawks, is in his second season with Kunlun Red Star where he plays alongside his older brother Spencer (Jiang Fu in international play).

The third period saw China make it a one-goal game thanks to Wang's power play goal. The 25-year-old, a long-serving offensive threat for Kunlun Red Star in the KHL, rifled home a one-timer off a feed from Ye and, with 11 minutes on the clock, the game was wide open once again.

"It was honestly a relief to get it on the power play," said Wang. "Our power play has been kind of struggling in the last two games. Yipper (Jinguang Ye) made a nice pass and kind of flubbed it and floated it in there. It made it a close game and it's tough not to be able to tie it up. But it's obviously a better performance out of us than the first game." 

However, for all China's efforts in the closing minutes, Germany kept the home team at arm's length. The Dragons were not helped by a penalty on Jia Luo (Luke Lockhart) in the 57th minute. That ate up crucial time for China to find a tying goal and the Germans held on.

Defenceman Korbinian Holzer, meanwhile, was concerned with how his team sat back on a three-goal lead.:"We allowed [China] to come back into the game, had penalties, didn’t play the puck well. We allowed them to get back to life and get energy. We shot ourselves in the foot."

Meanwhile, despite losing once again, the Chinese were encouraged by the improvement from a 0-8 loss in Thursday's opener.

"The first game, there's a lot of nerves and we didn't have our best game," Wang added. "I came out a little flat, so it was good tonight. I think the nerves were gone and we came out hard. It was kind of a relief. I felt a little bit snake bitten and I could get the monkey off our back and hopefully roll into tomorrow and be feeling it."
Germany vs China - 2022 Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Tournament