Danes earn second win versus British
by Lucas AYKROYD|17 MAY 2024
Denmark's Mikkel Aagaard scores a second-period goal in a 4-3 victory over Great Britain at the 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
In a battle of two desperate teams, Denmark edged Great Britain 4-3 at the 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship on Friday. Christian Wejse scored the third-period winner on the power play with 7:59 left.

Wejse stood in front to tip in Joachim Blichfeld's deft feed from the left faceoff circle. It’s an important step forward in Denmark's bid to avoid last place in Group A.

Prior to this victory, Denmark had lost three straight games after opening with a 5-1 victory over Austria. The Danes cannot be relegated since they will co-host next year's Worlds with Sweden (Stockholm & Herning), but would still prefer to be there on merit.

Despite leading early and fighting back twice to tie this game up, Great Britain remains pointless with four consecutive losses. The game was gritty and at times chippy. Final shots favoured the British 31-28.

"Credit to the Brits today," said Danish assistant captain Oliver Lauridsen. "They fought tooth and nail for for the whole game. There's a lot on the line for them and for us, but even more so for them, and you could feel that from from the puck drop."

Mikkel Aagaard added two goals for Denmark and Philip Bruggisser had a single and an assist. Nick Olesen had three assists and Oscar Moelgaard added two helpers.

Liam Kirk, Cade Neilson, and Nathanael Halbert replied for Great Britain.

"Huge effort from us," said British assistant captain Mark Richardson. "I think after three really tough games, to come into this one and bring that effort, it was great by everybody. But it sucks right now. You know, we were right there and we had our chances."

The absence of captain Jesper Jensen Aabo and forward Frederik Storm from the Danish lineup created opportunities for others. Defenceman Anders Koch and forward Lucas Andersen made their tournament debuts.

"One guy's the captain and the other guy's played over 10 World Championships," Oliver Lauridsen said. "So those are tough, tough guys to replace. But we've been working towards this for quite a few years now in Danish ice hockey to have younger guys that are ready to step in and take those roles. So this was a perfect opportunity to do it."

Kirk opened the scoring at 5:23 on a great individual effort. Both the Danish defenders and goalie Frederik Dichow underestimated his speed as he blitzed down left wing and around the net to tuck in a wraparound. The 2021 World Championship all-star, who starred this past season with Litvinov in the Czech Extraliga, received a nice ovation.

Just over a minute later, the Danes served up a highlight-reel response, courtesy of their youngest player. Moelgaard, a 19-year-old HV71 forward, took a feed from Olesen in the neutral zone, performed a spin-a-rama in front of British rearguard Evan Mosey, and then, while falling, sent the puck back to Aagaard for an open-net goal.

Seconds later, a scrum erupted after Sean Norris stuck out the knee on veteran Danish blueliner Nicholas B. Jensen, who had to be helped off, but would come back. After a video review, the officials handed Norris a two-minute minor.

Denmark cashed in on the man advantage at 8:25. Olesen sent the puck back to Bruggisser, who hammered a one-timer over screened goalie Jackson Whistle’s glove.

"Christian Wejse is very good net-front and he's always in there, so it's nice," Bruggisser said. "He screened the goalie well and I just basically had to not hit anybody. So we're very happy with that. Our power play got two big goals tonight."

Neilson potted the equalizer at 10:34 with a deflection off his right skate. No kicking motion, no review, and Great Britain had new life on just its fourth shot on goal.

Kirk nearly gave the British their second lead on a right-wing rush that Dichow barely got with his glove, spawning a fruitless quest for the rebound.

With the British net besieged at the start of the second period, Aagard put Denmark up 3-2 at 1:42, tucking a deft Olesen pass into the open side as Whistle slid around.

Pushing back near the midway mark, Grat Britain came close. Wejse made a big shot block on Ben Lake, who had a gaping net. Seconds later, Dichow stoned Brett Perlini alone in front. And Markus Lauridsen dived with his stick to break up a dangerous-looking 2-on-1.

A late-period British power play with Oliver Lauridsen off for cross-checking was highlighted by Dichow's glove grab on a Kirk one-timer. But on the next man advantage, Halbert drew Britain even at 18:34 with a high wrister as he jumped in from the centre point.

Trailing late, British coach Peter Russell pulled Whistle for the extra skater with under three minutes to play. There were some nervous Danish moments under pressure, but they hung on for the three points.

Next up on Saturday, Denmark takes on Switzerland, while Great Britain confronts Czechia

"It'll probably be a great experience," said Richardson about facing the hosts. "I'm sure it'll be loud. We've just got to keep improving to give ourselves the best chance here."

The gap between Denmark and Great Britain in World Championship hockey has decreased dramatically. The Danes romped 9-0 when they first met in 2019. In 2021, Markus Lauridsen’s goal with 25 seconds in overtime lifted Denmark to a 3-2 win.