World Junior Championship 2015 – Slovakia vs. Germany @ Bell Centre – December 30, 2014

wjc slovakia vs germany2Important game for the two teams. Both Slovakia and Germany find themselves towards the bottom of Group A with only one moving on to the elimination rounds. The winner of this game in regulation would be moving on. Needless to say, this would be huge for both nations.

Though they have not scored any goals so far the Germans have not been pushovers. Having only played two games if Germany wins both of their remaining round robin game they could finish as high as 3rd. The Slovaks have won a game against defending champs Finland. They are in the position they are in because of some excellent goaltending by Denis Godla. At one point he had made 60 consecutive saves including the marvellous performance against the United States. He, a very acrobatic goalie, has been the team’s best player. Slovakia has never been regulated so far, so would see a loss with great embarrassment. Germany’s goalie Ilya Sharipov, born in Russia, has been no slouch either. He has been facing a tournament high of 53 shots again per game and was also great against the U.S.

With two sides with fragile confidence it would be paramount who scored the game’s first goal. Both sides would be looking at this as a must win. Germany’s coach and Montreal native Pat Cotina has said this was their most important game of the tournament. Denis Godla shows he is ready for game with a sparkling glove grab just under 5 minutes into the game. It was a pretty evenly played game over the first 9 minutes of the game. The longer things went like this you had to think the Germans were happy about it as their hope was to keep things tight checking and close.

wjc slovakia vs germany4Then just like that the Slovaks blew things open with 3 straight goals before the end of the 1st. The first was at the 9:58 mark by Robert Lantosi. Germany had the Slovaks pinned in their own end for a while then Erik Cernak knocked a German player off the puck and played it over to Peter Cehlarik looked up and saw Lantosi streaking away at centre. A quick pass to him was then aided by the German defenseman falling down allowing Lantosi to go in alone on Sharipov. A neat deke to his forehand allowed Lantosi to find the space he needed to slip it past the German goalie.

A few minutes later Slovakia doubled their lead courtesy of the team’s most talented offensive player. Martin Reway steals the puck from Marc Michaelis just inside the German blue line. He dropped the puck back to David Soltes. It was an innocent looking shot by Soltes, but Sharipov allowed it to bounce up in the air off his glove to land in the crease. Reway quickly pounced on it and deposited in the net. Reway is the team captain and in his third World Junior Championship. The leader offensively he has 3 points on the 5 Slovak goals.

Again another few minutes later the Slovaks pretty much broke the backs of the Germans. Again it was another turn over by the Germans in their own end. Patrik Koys ended up with the puck behind the German net and was given plenty of time to find Matus Sukel, who one timed a shot that gave Sharipov no chance.

wjc slovakia vs germany3Maybe feeling sorry for their opponents the Slovaks gave the Germans a chance to get back into the game late in the first. At 17:22 Peter Cehlarik got his stick up high on Jonas Muller causing a cut/blood and a double minor. On the ensuing 4 minute power play they scored during the first two minutes leaving another full power play for the Germans. Frederik Tiffels, playing in his third World Junior Championship, scored Germany’s first goal of the tournament. Dominik Kahun’s shot missed the net, but on the way off the end boards hit the side of the Slovak net changing its direction a little and fortuitously bounced right to Tiffels. It took almost 140 minutes of play for Germany to get its first goal of tournament.

Germany had a great chance at the very end of the period. Godla made a save from in close off a deflected puck off his own player. The Germans could not cash in on the 2nd part of the power play which was divided over the end of the 1st and beginning of the 2nd period.

It was a terrible 1st period for the Germans with too many turn overs. They made the ice too easily accessible for the Slovaks. Made things easy for the higher skilled Slovak players like Lantosi and Reway.

The 2nd period saw no goals and that was just fine for the Slovaks being two goals up. In terms of possession the Germans dominated even though they were outshot 12-10 by the Slovaks. Offensively the Germans were not able to generate much offensively despite the fact that they had a couple of man advantage opportunities and when they did they could not seem to hit the net. Great opportunities to bring themselves within one goal were wasted. The Slovaks even managed to generate some chances shorthanded. They are very aggressive on the penalty kill.

Early in the 3rd period it was a misplaying of the puck out of his net by German goaltender Sharipov that led to the Slovaks fourth goal. Sharipov goes behind his net and Reway comes in rather lackadaisically not really putting any pressure on the German goaltender. Inexplicably, Sharipov gives the puck right to Reway, who just had to skate around the net and deposit the puck in the empty German net.

If the Slovaks were comfortable with the three goal lead they made it harder on themselves a few minutes after going up. Tiffels is awarded a dubious penalty shot and he scored on a nice wrist shot that goes in off the left post. The Western Michigan player has shown good hands this game and he brings his team to within two goals again at 5:36 of the 3rd period.

German coach Cortina realizing that this game was his team’s best chance to move on (they have one more game against the Finns) played the wheels off his best players the rest of the game. After going up by 3 goals the German goalie has not been tested all that much while the Germans have had a couple of chances.

The goalies continued to keep the team’s chances alive with stellar play. With just over 9 minutes left in the game Godla robs Muller of a sure goal. He managed to move from his left to right quickly to get his blocker on the puck. An incredible save. Then Sharipov makes an important toe save on Lantosi with just over 8 minutes left.

Hampering their team’s chance of getting back into the game, Germany’s Peter Bender and Fabio Pfohl both got minor penalties within 1:12 of each other. This gave the Slovaks a two man advantage with just over 5 minutes to go in 3rd. While they were not able to cash in it did not allow the Germans to create any offense in the hopes of scoring the two goals then needed to tie up the game. Tiffels, the player of the game for Germany, does have a shorthanded chance late in the second penalty, but Christian Jaros makes a good play coming back to deny him a break away.

Cortina is only able to pull Sharipov with a minute left. Seizing advantage of the net being empty Reway poaches a puck around center and wrists a shot into the empty net. When this guy is on the ice he wants to score.

With the 5-2 win the Slovaks move on to the elimination round with the Germans having to defeat the Finns in order to move on.

Game Stats:
-On-Ice Officials: Referees – Mikko Kaukokari (Finland) and Linus Ohland (Sweden)
Linesmen – Andreas Malmqvist (Sweden) and Simon Wust (Switzerland)
-Goals: 1st Period:
9:58: Slovakia – Robert Lantosi assisted by Peter Cehlarik and Erik Cernak
13:10: Slovakia – Martin Reway assisted by David Soltes
15:03: Slovakia – Matus Sukel assisted by Patrik Koys and Mislav Rosandic
18:46: Germany – (pp) Frederik Tiffels assisted by Dominik Kahun
3rd Period:
4:05: Slovakia – Martin Reway unassisted
5:36: Germany – Frederik Tiffels unassisted
19:05: Slovakia – (en) Martin Reway unassisted
-Shots on Goal: Slovakia – 35
Germany – 30
-Players of the Game: Slovakia – Robert Lantosi
Germany – Frederik Tiffels
-Attendance: 5,568
-Final Score: Slovakia – 5
Germany – 2

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