Marcel Goc opened the scoring for Germany to get the second win. Photo: Jelena Levsina
Two games, two wins, 11-0 goal record
Germany’s impressive streak continues at this year’s Final Olympic Qualification after a 6-0 win against Austria to set up a final on Sunday with Latvia.
Like against Japan, Marco Sturm’s team was red hot and broke the initial resistance of the Austrians after the first period.
The Germans now have an 11-0 goal record after two games and Philipp Grubauer has two shutouts from two games.
“We didn’t expect it. When you come into a tournament, you don’t know what happens, you don’t know the other teams so well. We just play our game, it’s important to do that for 60 minutes,” Grubauer said.
It was a game with a different omen for the teams. On one hand Austria fared well against Germany in the past, most notably qualifying for the 2014 Olympics at Germany’s expense and on German soil in Bietigheim-Bissingen. On the other hand Germany beat Japan 5-0 yesterday while Austria lost 8-1 to Latvia.
Would it be another goal galore against the Austrians? The Austrians’ answer in the beginning was “nein”. Like against Latvia they started the game well and even outshot their opponent, 11-8, in the first period. Would the Austrians have a chance to win? Not after another breakdown in the second period that opened the Germans the chance to take revenge on the Austrians after the Olympic Qualification trauma three-and-a-half years ago.
Like against Latvia the Austrians had trouble scoring and like that it looked like a matter of time until they were behind. This time it took a bit longer when Marcel Goc opened the scoring at 14:22.
The Germans won a puck battle at the end boards of the offensive zone. Marcus Kink sent a drop pass to Goc, who opened the scoring in the neighbouring clash.
Germany defended the lead well against an Austrian team that was not yet ready to give up. At 8:04 of the second period they extended the lead when Patrick Hager received a side pass from the boards to the crease from Felix Schutz and he stylishly moved the puck around the goalie.
With 2:40 left in the period Moritz Muller increased the lead to 3-0 scoring on a rebound after he saw a Goc shot from the blue line blocked by Austrian goalie David Kickert. Again the middle frame settled the case with a three-goal lead.
Patrick Reimer made it more lopsided early in the third period when his shot find the way through traffic into the top-left corner. With nice tic-tac-toe passing between Dominik Kahun, Tobias Rieder and eventually Felix Schutz, the Germans scored their fifth goal and on another power play Leon Draisaitl made the final score 6-0.
When Austrian forward Thomas Raffl saw his penalty shot saved by Grubauer, it became clear that the Germany shutout streak continued before the “final” against Latvia on Sunday evening that will decide which team from Riga will go to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, Korea.
“It’s great for us here, we gel together well. Now it’s all about one game we have to win,” German goalie Grubauer said.
“They play in their own arena, in their own country. They will come out like a bat out of hell. They’re a strong team that scored a lot of goals.”