Germany wins, qualifies for QF
by Andrew Podnieks|30 DEC 2022
Germany's Philipp Krening scores a first-period goal against Austrian goalkeeper Michael Sicher.
photo: Matt Zambonin / IIHF
Germany defeated Austria by a 4-2 score in Halifax tonight – their win first of the tournament after two losses – to earn a spot in the playoffs, which begin 2 January. The loss, Austria’s fourth in a row, means they will have to play Latvia to avoid relegation.

Although the result might be expected, the way it transpired was anything but routine. Austria dominated the final five minutes and did everything but score to make it closer. German goalie Nikita Quapp saved his best for last, and Finn van Ee hit the post during the Austrian barrage as the buzzer sounded. 

In all, Austria had 33 shots tonight, exactly the total of their first three games combined.

"I'm really proud of the group to come back after three huge losses and play this way, and dominate at times," said Ian Scherzer, who scored the team's first goal of the tournament in the second period. "It's huge for us. I'm pretty sure they thought they were the better team, but we have to take this [confidence] with us to the relegation."

Coming into the game the rules of engagement were simple. Whichever team won the game in regulation would advance to the quarter-finals; whichever team lost would have to play the best-of-three relegation round.

The teams had played only twice previously, Germany winning both, first in 1980, and more recently this past August, 4-2.

"We improved a lot from the Canadian game," said German forward Julian Lutz of his team's 11-2 loss to the hosts. "It was a must-win for us if we wanted to play in the quarter-finals, and now we've achieved that. We think we can now achieve something bigger. We knew we could score goals, and we played well in the defensive zone. I think we have to play well tomorrow and keep going, believe in ourselves. Anything is possible. If we play with passion, we can do amazing things. With Sweden, we were the underdogs and the fans got on our side, so I think we can do that in the quarter-finals."
Germany vs Austria - 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship
GER AUT 31 DEC 2022
Teams exchanged early scoring chances, but neither Veit Oswald of Germany nor David Reinbacher could count the first goal. Each team also had one power play, but that also proved fruitless. Nonetheless, Germany opened the scoring late in the first off a Julian Lutz pass from behind the net out front to Philpp Krening. Krening’s first shot hit a group of players in front, but he got the rebound and swept it into the empty side at 18:01.

Germany doubled its lead early in the second thanks to a faceoff win by Bennet Rossmy. The puck came back to the point where Leon van der Linde drilled a long shot through Michael Sicher. Austria then had its best scoring chance of the tournament after Nils Elten hauled down Jonas Dobnig on a breakaway right after Dobnig had come out of the penalty box. 

Dobnig was selected by coach Kirk Furey to take the penalty shot, but he blasted a shot wide of the blocker side. That was a costly miss as Germany made it 3-0 soon after. Nikolaus Heigl’s nifty back pass found brother Thomas in the slot, and Thomas made no mistake. That spelled the end for Sicher, who was replaced by Thomas Pfarrmaier.

Midway through the period, Austria got another power and, for the first time in the tournament, connected. Scherzer kept the puck in at the line, moved in to the faceoff dot, and beat Quapp with a shot between the pads at 9:24, igniting a celebration on the bench for the  team’s first goal after being shutout for 209:24.

"We got a lot of shots on the power play and scoring that goal was huge," Scherzer acknowledged. "They blocked a lot of shots, but I had a fairly good screen and got the puck through. You're always looking for a shot, and I saw a lane."

The Germans extended their lead late in the period, though, when Roman Kechter took aim and fired from the slot at 16:38. Early in the third, though, the Austrians struck again. German defender Philip Sinn lost the puck in front of his goal, and Dobnig was right there to make the quick move and backhand the puck past a surprised Quapp at 6:00.

But while Germany settled in, happy to win 4-2, the Austrians pressed and had a number of great chances in the closing minutes. They earned a power play, pulled Sicher, and threw everything but the kitchen sink at Quapp, who was sensational to preseve the win.
Germany vs Austria - 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship