Germany nips Denmark
by Lucas Aykroyd|19 MAY 2022
Germany's Marc Michaelis (right) celebrates after scoring the eventual 1-0 winner against Denmark in the second period at the 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Helsinki.
photo: Andrea Cardin / HHOF-IIHF Images
It was all about who'd make one less mistake, and that was Germany. Marc Michaelis scored the second-period winner on the power play as Germany beat Denmark 1-0 on Thursday to solidify its hopes of a quarter-final berth. The Germans now have nine points in Group A, while Denmark remains at six points.

"We're both pretty defensive teams," said German forward Maximilian Kastner. "There were a couple of chances for us and against us, so it could have been a higher score. But we'll take a 1-0 lead and are happy we kept it."

Both teams went with their top goalies in a showdown between Germany’s Philipp Grubauer and Denmark’s Sebastian Dahm. Shots on goal were scarce, favouring Denmark 18-13. Grubauer got his first career Worlds shutout in his fourth tournament.

"This was the same situation against Slovakia, when it was 2-1 [for Germany]," Grubauer said. "Those are exciting games. These kinds of games are more fun than a 5-0 game. Everybody did the right things. The power play was dialed in. The penalty kill was absolutely incredible. And 5-on-5, we were great and got the win."

The game started at 18:00 instead of the originally scheduled 16:20. Due to a small fire in Helsinki Ice Hall prior to the start of the preliminary-round game between Germany and Denmark the arena was completely evacuated and emergency staff called. The fire was extinguished and there were no injuries. The Canada-Kazakhstan game was also delayed to 21:30.

"With the circumstances today and a close game, we didn't lose our minds," Kastner said. "We stayed focused the whole game and were ready."

Germany, which won an historic silver medal at the 2018 Olympics in Korea under coach Marco Sturm, has made continuing progress under Finnish bench boss Toni Soderholm, coming sixth in 2019 and fourth in 2021.

Under coach Heinz Ehlers, Denmark is trying to build off February’s seventh-place finish in its Olympic debut in Beijing. The Danes have never finished higher than eighth (2010, 2016) at the Worlds. But right now, a top-eight finish is still up in the air.

"Sometimes you score and sometimes you don't," said Denmark's Oliver Larsen. "That's just hockey. We have to focus on the things we can. I think we played a good game today. We stepped up from our last one as a team [a 2-1 win over Italy]. We played a good first period. In the second, we went down a little bit, but in the third we played well again. We didn't have many chances. We need guys in front of the net."

Both nations have can't-squander opportunities for three points next. The Germans take on winless Italy on Friday. Denmark gets France, fresh off a dramatic 2-1 comeback win over Italy in overtime, on Saturday.
Germany vs Denmark - 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship
Marc Michaelis scored the second-period winner on the power play as Germany beat Denmark 1-0.
GER DEN 19 MAY 2022
The Danes and Germans sparred ultra-cautiously in a scoreless, penalty-free first period with few chances. The neutral zone was a minefield of sticks and jerseys. Denmark outshot Germany 5-4 through 20 minutes.

The action picked up in the second period. Just past the two-minute mark, Nicolai Meyer blitzed into the right faceoff circle and unleashed a rising slap shot that forced Grubauer to make a fine glove save. However, less than a minute later, Meyer was shaken up just inside the Danish blue line on a tough open-ice hit by Jonas Muller. The Danish fans were relieved to see their veteran forward from the Vienna Capitals skate off, but miffed about the lack of a call.

Germany picked up its pace and came within a hair's-breadth of opening the scoring when Kastner was unable to convert a cross-crease pass by Dahm's left post.

The Danes responded with energy after killing off their first penalty, a tripping minor to Julian Jakobsen. Nikolaj Ehlers cut around German captain Moritz Muller with speed and nearly got a backhand past Grubauer. The Winnipeg Jets star was buzzing and looked determined to turn the tide by himself if necessary.

Michaelis shifted the momentum to Germany's side with the first goal at 12:41. After the Danes were penalized for too many men on the ice, the Germans moved the puck around smartly. Marcel Noebels sent a hard pass to the Mannheim-born member of the Toronto Marlies, who was perfectly positioned at the top of the crease to tip it in.

Past the five-minute mark of the third period, Alexander Ehl nearly doubled Germany's lead, dinging the puck off Dahm's left post from close range. Samuel Soramies then jumped in to fire the loose puck, but couldn't put it home. The tension mounted as the German fans behind Grubauer's net sang and urged their squad on.

The teams finally began to open it up and trade chances with under 10 minutes left in regulation, going end to end. Danish blueliner Emil Kristensen's untimely holding penalty with 8:18 remaining enabled Germany to eat up more precious seconds.

Denmark attempted a final push, yanking Dahm for the extra attacker with just over a minute left, but it was fruitless.

"Every game feels like a playoff game," Grubauer said. "Every situation, every period, we come closer together as a team. We see it with our decision-making. The first game against Canada was so-so, against Slovakia was better, France was a step back, and now it's a step in the right direction again. I feel like we're setting ourselves up for a chance to win."

Historically, this has been a tight rivalry. Dating back to 2005, Denmark’s all-time World Championship record against Germany now sits at five wins and four losses.

The previous five World Championship games between these nations were each decided by one goal, with Denmark winning all three games that went to overtime or a shootout.
Germany vs Denmark - 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship