Sunday, June 6th, 2021
Historic World Cup success still possible
The Finnish “elephant” annoyed the DEB team
By Tobias Nordmann
Then just bronze! The German national ice hockey team missed a great chance at the World Cup final. Will the tournament in Latvia end with the greatest World Cup success since 1953? What absolutely has to get better against the USA: The exploitation of the chances.
The way to the goal, the way to the cup, leads through Juho Olkinuora at the Ice Hockey World Championship in Riga. That sounds kind of nice. But it can also be pretty cruel. Because Juho Olkinuora is a wall, a wall that swallows (almost) everything. For the second time in these days from Riga, Juho Olkinuora drove Germany’s best ice hockey player crazy. For the second time, the Finnish goalkeeper prevented the defending champion from falling off the ice against the furious team of national coach Toni Söderholm. Looking back, Germany can certainly deal well with the defeat in the preliminary round, but less so with the defeat in the semi-finals on Saturday evening. Historically, the chance was great, but only Juho Olkinuora was even greater.
Tore: 1: 0 Pakarinen (13:50), 2: 0 Björninen (18:55), 2: 1 Plachta (31:03)
Finland: Olkinuora – Sund, Koivisto; Määttä, Kaski; Ohtamaa, Pokka; Lindbohm, Nousiainen – Mäenalanen, Björninen, Anttila; Swedish, Lundell, Ojamäki; Innala, Kontiola, Pakarinen; Sallinen, Ruohomaa, Turunen. – Trainer: Jalonen
Germany: Niederberger (Eisbären Berlin / 49 international matches) – Moritz Müller (Kölner Haie / 167), Seider (Rögle BK / 15); Jonas Müller (Eisbären Berlin / 54), Holzer (Awtomobilist Yekaterinburg / 79); Wagner (ERC Ingolstadt / 33), Nowak (Düsseldorfer EG / 50); Gawanke (Manitoba Moose / 12) – Reichel (Eisbären Berlin / 11), Noebels (Eisbären Berlin / 93), Pföderl (Eisbären Berlin / 50); Plachta (Adler Mannheim / 102), Kahun (Edmonton Oilers / 67), Eisenschmid (Adler Mannheim / 35); Kühnhackl (Bridgeport Sound Tigers / 14), Loibl (Adler Mannheim / 35), Rieder (Buffalo Sabers / 48); Krämmer (Adler Mannheim / 60), Kastner (Red Bull Munich / 18), Peterka (Red Bull Munich / 9); Tiffels (Cologne Sharks / 56). – Trainer: Söderholm
Referee: Björk, Nord (both Swedes)
Penalty minutes: Finland 8 – Germany 6
In a tournament that, from a German point of view, was not lacking in dramas, narrow defeats in the preliminary round and passionately fought and won victories against Latvia (in the last group game) and against Switzerland (in the quarter-finals), the DEB team now delivered the next epic battle. Mercilessly sacrificed himself. Like Tom Kühnhackl, who was outnumbered and thrown into a murderous slap shot from Oliwer Kaski. The puck slammed into an exposed spot on the ankle. Kühnhackl crawled and hobbled off the ice, but came back only a few minutes later and did not spare himself. It’s just a story this game tells. Another is: After a strong start into the game, Germany received a lightning disillusionment in minutes 14 and 19. In the 0: 1 by Iiro Pakaranien, the so far outstanding goalie Mathias Niederberger cannot be absolved of any guilt. The shot was hard and from a rather close range, but not untenable.
Now you don’t have to dwell on this scene for long. Because Niederberger had kept so much damage from the team so far and because he later parried outstandingly several times and thus left the DEB team dreaming of a historic entry into a World Cup final, the first since 1953, for a long time. On the second goal it was again an individual mistake that allowed Finland to score. Lukas Reichel played the puck in the middle of his own third without need. There was no one there. Except for Hannes Björninen.
Finnish clearance team
From a German point of view, the story of this game was only just beginning. With what is probably the best performance in this tournament, Finland was stuck several times in its own third. The defending champion was only concerned with fending off shots (or not even allowing them to happen), cleaning up in front of the goal with all permitted severity or simply getting the puck out of the danger zone. When has something like this happened before? A German team dominates Finland. Forces them to be indisciplined. To punishments. After eleven suspensions in eight games, there were only four in one game. A whole team swayed. Except this Olkinuora. Sport1 expert Rick Goldmann called him “an elephant” with great admiration. In fact, it was meant to be absolutely appreciative, with his height of just under 1.90 meters, the 30-year-old takes up a lot of space, but also plays cleverly, comes towards the shooter and offers him hardly any space for the shot.
Matthias Plachta showed how it works in the middle of the second third. Because Markus Eisenschmid kept the Finnish goalie busy, because he took away his sight, Plachta suddenly had the chance. He used it. But also with a huge shot off the blue line. The fact that Germany could not bring itself into this situation more often was due to the “bodyguards” of Olkinuora. Atte Ohtamaa and his colleagues cleaned up and cleaned up in front of the gate. There were hardly any rebounds for the German team. Especially not to be used. And when someone like Nobels was through, Olkinuora would take care of the situation himself. It is no surprise that the Finns are the team with the fewest goals conceded in the tournament. And yet there was a huge chance for Germany of last-minute compensation. As against Switzerland. But Dominik Kahun’s spectacular pass to Eisenschmid, who was completely free at the far post, was deflected by Ohtamaa’s racket. Eisenschmid knocked past the puck.
Big disappointment, of course. “We wanted to become world champions. We were the better team today, the little things just decided,” said captain Moritz Müller. The pride but a little bigger: “This team has won a very, very large part of my ice hockey heart. The boys implemented 99 percent of everything that was on the plan,” praised the often rather matter-of-fact Söderholm: “We have a lot Bringing our strengths into play, creating very good chances to score, doing a lot that could actually have brought a win. ”
However, there is no time for frustration. Already at noon (from 2:15 p.m. in the live ticker at ntv.de) there is a second chance for the historical medal. “We’ll get bronze, it’s very simple,” said the defensive veteran Korbinian Holzer, who was once again outstanding against Finland. “We’ll get everything out of there again. We won’t leave a drop in the tank.” At noon the team from the USA is waiting, against which there was a close 2-0 defeat in the preliminary round. Here, too, Germany was superior. Here, too, Germany often narrowly failed. A man named Cal Petersen. The way to the goal, the way to the World Cup medal, it again leads through a goalie …