Russian rampage, British bravery and more late game drama that leaves Kosice stunned. All that was present at Wednesday’s games.
Day 6 is in the books and it’s been another wild day in Slovakia filled with hockey.
In group A, Great Britain faced off against the USA only 24 hours after they got stumped 9-0 by Denmark. A repeat of that was on most people’s mind but the Brits showed a lot of morale and character as they scored a goal in each period. However, they ended up losing but with a very respectable scoreline.
In the second game implications were high as Slovakia needed a win against Germany to keep the realistic hopes of the quarterfinals alive. Sadly, they once again were on the losing end of a huge and late comeback, granting Germany the perfect scenario after four games.
In group B things were a little more straight up. Switzerland calmly found a win against Norway on the back of a strong defense, while Russia defeated Italy 10-0 in a pure onslaught.
Great Britain 3-6 USA
Great Britain: A goal per period for a brave bunch of Brits. They might have been on the back foot for much of the game and required a few robberies from goaltender Ben Bowns. However, they got that and therefore kept the score very respectable.
Let’s remember that Great Britain is ranked at 22nd in the world. Behind Poland. Yet they took America head on and only lost by three. This should give some confidence ahead of the next few games, especially the crucial game against France. If they can have a day like this and France has a bad day in the office, who knows what can happen.
USA: Not an amazing game, but they got the job done. They had the shots to score the expected amount of goals, but they were incredibly unfortunate with a few posts.
This was best illustrated late in the game where the new visor version of Jack Hughes had his first goal and point on his stick. He had gone past Bowns and just needed to put it in the net. But a miraculous save from Bowns with his glove denied the youngster.
It was a hard game to get a good read on team USA, and I think it’s a game where they take the three points and move on against Denmark on Saturday. A game where a win very well could solidify their quarterfinal spot.
Germany 3-2 Slovakia
Germany: To the fans of Germany. You can start to book your tickets for the quarterfinals. That is the fact after a crazy ending to a game that is very typical of Germany’s World Championships.
They might not be the best team, but they find a way to win. In this game they were second-best all night. Deservingly down 2-1 going in to the last two minutes of the game and in desperation mode. Then they get the tying goal. With overtime looming, Leon Draisaitl snapped a shot into the top corner of the Slovakian net with 27 seconds remaining. Twelve points in four games for the Germans and now they can challenge the three top teams freely.
Slovakia: Déjà vu of a terrible nightmare for the Slovaks.
Two days ago against Canada, they lost a point with 1.8 seconds to go. Today they had a lead going in the final two minutes but once again come away with nothing. They started off on fire, beating USA and everything looked as to they had the quarter-finals in their sights. Since then they lost three close games. And while they have the easier part of their schedule left, they must hope from help somewhere in this group. Whether it comes from Denmark or Germany, they have to hope one of them can give them a hand.
Nagy’s hit: The game itself had it all, but sadly in the aftermath of writing this I’m sitting with one moment in mind. That moment was when 18-year-old super prospect Moritz Seider leaves the game after taking a scary hit from 39-year-old Ladislav Nagy.
Hit from behind by Nagy who receives a two minute penalty for boarding. Seider being helped off the ice by team trainers and teammates. Not a very good look there. pic.twitter.com/IHcTOwo7qu
— Aivis Kalniņš🇱🇻 (@A_Kalnins) May 15, 2019
To me this is a dangerous and dirty hit and I lost a lot of respect for Nagy. The force of the hit might not be the most powerful I’ve seen, but the fact that Nagy hits a young player who doesn’t have the puck or an idea the hit is coming is cowardly and a bad look on the game. Both in terms of this tournament since one of the more exiting players leaves the worlds, but also in terms of future World Championships.
Seeing this hit I can understand if younger players or NHLers refuse to go since the chance of a cheap shot is looming. I hope Sieder is okay and going to be back up to speed swiftly. For Nagy, I hope this is the last we have seen of him in this year’s Worlds.
Norway 1-4 Switzerland
Norway: A much better game from Norway who finally seem to have fixed one of their major weaknesses in the penalty kill. They weren’t exactly disciplined, but they managed to kill the penalties off tonight.
In the end it wasn’t enough as Switzerland methodically wore down Norway and against them it feels like one or two goals might be enough. Norway once again only scoring one goal and while they have scored in all their games they’ve only scored six goals so far in just five periods. That’s not good enough and they will need to be better. Especially since its do or die time for the Norwegians who play two relegation battles against Austria and Italy to end the tournament.
Switzerland: It was not an amazing game, and I might go as far to call it mediocre but it was enough to beat Norway. Especially thanks to another stellar defensive game from the Swiss, who have only allowed two goals in four games. And outside the goal Norway scored today, they kept the shots to the outside or in low percentage areas of the ice.
Offensively the line of Nico Hischier and Kevin Fiala worked wonders, and when they get a few goals from their deep bench they are a hard team to face. This was the easy games for Switzerland, who now have to look at three tough games to end the group stage.
Russia 10-0 Italy
Russia: Hockey is fun. Especially when Russia is playing like this. With a playing style reminiscent of the old Soviet teams who would win everything throughout the 1970’s and 80’s, it’s a joy to watch them dance around the Italians.
Everyone was involved from Russia and their entry into the zone is something of dreams. When Russia plays like that it’s a bad sign for the other teams and today it could have been 20-0 if Russia was a little more clinical with their finishing. And on the defensive side of the puck they got their third shutout in a row! This team is going to be hard to beat.
Italy: Another rough game. Allowing a ton of shots, getting scored on in bunches and still creating nothing. What can you say really? It’s business as usual. And unlike last night against Latvia, goaltender Andreas Bernard can’t make miracles. Just 18 seconds into the second period his night was done after allowing five goals. I honestly don’t understand why he was starting in this game. Four games without a single goal and a minus 30! That’s embarrassing no matter who they’ve played so far!
Statistics provided by TSN and EliteProspects
Featured Image Photo Credit: Nikos Michals