U.S. stays perfect after narrow win
by Andy Potts|15 MAY 2023
A deflected shot beats German goalie Mathias Niederberger to open the scoring in the game against the USA in Tampere, Finland.
Team USA's youngsters continue to impress after posting a third successive World Championship victory in Tampere. Third period goals from Sean Farrell and Matt Coronato, who both played the bulk of the season at Harvard University, secured a fightback win over Germany.

"That's a really exciting win for the team," said American goalie Casey DeSmith, who started in place of Cal Petersen for the first time in the tournament. "It’s hard to come from behind, especially against a good team like Germany. It showed a lot of character from our group."

For the Germans, meanwhile, the frustration continues. Harold Kreis’ team arguably deserved more from narrow losses against Sweden and Finland, and again picked up plaudits for a good performance here. However, Germany is still waiting for its first point of the competition after a 2-3 loss.

"It’s so close every time," said German goalscorer Samuel Soramies. "You can see it on the ice. We have so many good chance to win the game, every game so far. It was the post, the crossbar. We just have to keep going, play the same way and the wins will come."

Germany had two new faces. Defender Leon Gawanke, 23, joins his countrymen for the third time in World Championship play while forward Manuel Wiederer, 26, is back in World Championship action for the first time since 2018.

The Eisbaren Berlin man was close to opening the scoring here when he hit the bar a in first period that largely went Germany’s way. There were also good opportunities for Justin Schutz and Frederik Tiffels, the latter getting clean through when Dylan Samberg failed to deal with a stretch pass from Moritz Muller. Casey DeSmith stood up big in the American net to keep the scoreboard blank.

At the other end, the USA offence was slowed by a couple of penalties. However, when Lane Hutson fired in a point shot, only the post prevented Alex Tuch from maintaining his goal streak as he applied a dangerous redirect.

In its games against Sweden and Finland, the Germans were left feeling that good performances went unrewarded. Most pessimistic fans might have started fearing more of the same in the second period when team USA went in front against the run of play. A delayed penalty helped the Americans to press, but Ronnie Attard’s shot was going wide of Mathias Niederberger’s net until a cruel deflection off Kai Wissmann’s skate steered it in.

Midway through the session, the USA was moving onto its first power play of the game when a passage of four-on-four came to a close. However, it was Germany that tied the game on a shorty. Captain Muller fired the puck to the net from the right boards, DeSmith did not control the rebound and Soramies was on hand to lift it into the net for his first goal at this year’s World Championship.

That was a sweet moment for the 24-year-old, born in Hiedelberg but with connections to Finland. "My father’s Finnish and my grandparents live here," he said "I’ve a lot of family here. They all come to the  games and everyone’s very excited about it."

Lifted, Germany went on to claim a deserved lead when Parker Tuomie’s pass unlocked the U.S. defence. Schutz shrugged off Nick Perbix’s attempts at a poke check and kept his composure to slide the puck through DeSmith’s pads. 

"We were all excited when he got the breakaway there and we really didn't see it because he shot five-hole," said team-mate Dominik Kahun. "It seemed like the goalie had it, but then he started celebrating, so we were happy for him."

The pacy German forwards continued to stretch the American D and early in the third period Tiffels had a great chance to extend the lead. However, he put his shot wide of the target. That miss looked even more costly moments later when the tying goal arrived at the other end. Sean Farrell, who this year added an NHL debut with the Habs to his Olympic and World Championship appearances last season, got his first goal here after exchanging passes with Hutson and shooting home from the top of the left-hand circle.

And Germany’s sense of frustration only increased in the 55th minute when the USA got ahead on a power play goal. A playbook move saw the Americans win an attacking face-off and get the puck back to Scott Perunovich. His feed picked out Coronato wide open at the back door and the Flames prospect joined fellow Harvard man Farrell on the scoresheet. 

"It was a great faceoff play," said the goalscorer. "Scotty got it back at the point and just made an unbelievable look back door and I was able to get my stick on it. It was a really great play by him."

"It was a good battle all the way through," added Alex Tuch. "Today Germany really brought their A-game. I thought they played really well. Their big guns came out firing and they made it really tough on us. We were on our heels, especially in the first period. 

"We started getting better as the game went on and we really made a push in the third. I thought we got back to our identity. We really started to work hard, really started playing in front of our goalie, because he deserved that win."

Coronato's goal wasn’t quite the end. A late surge saw Marcel Noebels shoot into the side netting at one end before Farrell fired wide of the empty net when he could have put the game beyond reach.

Seconds later the hooter sounded on another USA success, and DeSmith was delighted with what he's seen so far in the tournament. "We’ve played some really solid teams so far and we’ve showed our stuff," he said. "But the job’s far from over and we’ve still got a long way to go."

For Germany, meanwhile, the task is to start turning performances into wins. "We lost three games and now we have all the pressure," Kahun concluded after facing the top three seeds in the group. "We have to win all four games if we want to make the quarter-finals. Maybe three if there's any luck. But on the other hand, if we would beat or get some points against those top top teams, it would be even better for us. We just have to relax and keep going against Denmark."
Germany vs United States - 2023 IIHF WM