Canada eked out a much-too-close-for-comfort Quarterfinal victory over Germany in Cologne on Thursday, narrowly beating the World Championships host 2-1 to advance to the Semifinals and retain the International Hockey Lineal Championship.
The true story of the game was the German defence, helmed by netminder Philipp Grubauer, who ensured that his team was in this game throughout the full sixty minutes, with Canada’s opportunities far outnumbering those of the Träger der Adler. Canada, whose high-powered offence outshot Germany 15-7 in the first, only managed to beat Grubauer once, on a late power play goal by Mark Scheifele, taking a 1-0 lead into first intermission.
Grubauer only seemed to get stronger as the game went on, as despite being outshot 20-1 (20-1!) in the second period, it was again just a lone goal that managed to beat him, this being a Jeff Skinner rebound off a Michael Matheson point shot, beating a sprawling Grubauer with just 1:52 remaining in the second period to take the 2-0 lead. With the score far lower than it realistically should have been, and with a raucous crowd at Lanxess Arena fully behind the underdogs, this game had all the markings of a Cinderella story.
And Germany came ever so close. The offence woke up in the third, only being outshot 15-12 in the final frame, after Grubauer and the defence helped to kill off an early penalty. While Germany failed to capitalize on a pair of power plays midway through the period, it was a too many men on the ice penalty in fact that cut the lead, with a Christian Ehrhoff stretch pass finding the stick of a streaking Yannic Seidenberg, sprung on a breakaway, barely onside, beating Pickard backhand to put Canada’s lead at 2-1. However, with only 6:39 left in the game, and the German offense failing to find the necessary magic once more, the comeback attempt came up short, and Canada held on for the victory.
With the win, Canada retains the International Hockey Lineal Championship, their 64th such title, which they won from Finland two days ago in Paris to wrap up the Worlds Group Round. Canada improves its perfect IHLC record against Germany to 35-0-3, dating back to their first tilt in 1911, and marks the first meeting since last year’s Worlds, where Canada triumphed with a 5-2 victory in Saint Petersburg. The win also locks Canada into a semifinal tilt against their historic Russian rivals, with a trip to the Gold Medal Game, and the IHLC, on the line.
16:15 – PEN – Reimer, hooking
17:11 – PP GOAL – Scheifele (O’Reilly, Marner)
26:22 – PEN – Draisaitl, hooking
27:56 – PEN – Marner, high sticking
35:14 – PEN – Giroux, delay of game
38:08 – GOAL – Skinner (Matheson, Scheifele)
45:17 – PEN – Wolf, checking to the head + 10 min. misconduct
47:02 – PEN – Schenn, interference
50:05 – PEN – Killorn, roughing
52:01 – PEN – team, too many players
53:21 – SH GOAL – Y. Seidenberg (Ehrhoff)
W: Pickard (19-20)
L: Grubauer (48-50)
SHOTS ON GOAL
15+20+15 = 50
7+1+12 = 20
Goaltenders: Chad Johnson, Calvin Pickard. Defence: Calvin de Haan, Jason Demers, Chris Lee, Michael Matheson, Josh Morrissey, Colton Parayko, Marc-Édouard Vlasic (A). Forwards: Sean Couturier, Matt Duchene (A), Claude Giroux (C), Alex Killorn, Travis Konecny, Ryan O’Reilly, Nathan MacKinnon, Mitchell Marner, Brayden Point, Mark Scheifele, Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds, Jeff Skinner.
Goaltenders: Thomas Greiss, Philipp Grubauer. Defence: Konrad Abeltshauser, Christian Ehrhoff (C), Frank Hördler, Justin Krueger, Moritz Müller, Denis Reul, Dennis Seidenberg (A). Forwards: Leon Draisaitl, Yasin Ehliz, Gerrit Fauser, Patrick Hager, Dominik Kahun, Marcus Kink (A), Brooks Macek, Matthias Plachta, Patrick Reimer, Felix Schütz, Yannic Seidenberg, Frederik Tiffels, David Wolf.