Friday, May 14, 2010

IHWC Qualfiying Round Group E, Denmark Stuns Slovakia, Finland edges Belarus

The IHWC 2nd Round saw a couple of blowouts. One expected, one with one of the bigger shocks as Denmark continues to be this year's tournament darlings as Denmark gets his 3rd win of this year's tournament with a 6-0 win over Slovakia.

You heard that right, 6-0, this one of Denmark's best goal scoring performances ever. The Danes matched their best from 2008 when they beat Italy 6-0. Denmark is hoping to finish off what has been a bit of a disappointing season.

After failing to make the Olympic Tournament, and not promoting at either the WJC or the U18 World Championships for the 2010-2011 season. This year's Denmark team is making up for that. They did scoring on their first 3 shots on goal to basically stun and destroy the Slovak Confidence in the 3rd period. Slovakia couldn't find it as they lost 6-0.

Later in the day in Group E, it was 2nd period goals by Jarkko Immonen and Juha-Pekka Hytonen scored. While the Finnish defense was able to stop what was a very tired Belarus team as they look to regroup for the last 2 games of the 2nd Round.

From the International Ice Hockey Federation Website:

Slovakia 0 Denmark 6 (0-6, 0-0, 0-0)

Slovakia VS. Denmark Photos:

From Alan Adams

In Colonge, Germany: Peter Regin scored on Denmark's first shot of the game and the Danes had three goals on their first 3 shots en route to a 6-0 triumph over Slovakia in a Qualification Round Game on Friday at the IIHF World Championship on Friday.

The offensive splurge marked only the 2nd time ever at the IIHF's showcase Event that Denmark scored six goals in a game. The previous time was at the 2008 Worlds when Denmark beat Italy 6-2.

The six goals in the first period also briefly tied a record for most goals in a period by the same team at the IIHF's elite level. But Canada scored seven times in the 2nd period against Norway in a game being played in Mannheim at the same-time to set the IIHF's benchmark.

"We killed them right away," said Denmark Captain Jesper Dammgard. "We came out flying and it seemed like everything went in."

"They changed goalies but we just kept coming at them. We were all over them and they could not get a shot on our net."

The surprising Danes now have 6 points in Group E and their next game is against Russia on Sunday. Slovakia has three points and it has a must-win game versus Finland on Monday to keep getting their hope of going to the Quarterfinals on track.

What made that result surprising is how Denmark, a team that has usually fought for survival against relegation, handled a team that is always mentioned as a medal contender with ease.

It was one of those games were nothing went right from the opening faceoff for the Slovaks, who were back on the ice less then 24 hours after a 5-1 loss against Kazakhstan, while everything went right for the Danes.

Regin opened the scoring at 1:05 of the first on a shot from close in and the floodgates were opened.

The Slovaks then found themselves in penalty trouble and took minor penalties at 2:23 and 3:27, and Denmark made them play with consecutive power-play goals.

Philip Larsen doubled the score at 4:20, negating the first penalty, and forwards Mads Christensen followed with his first goal at the world tournament at 4:40.

That made it three shots, three goals for the Danes and Slovakia coach Glen Hanlon had seen enough. He summoned goaltender Peter Budaj to the bench and sent Rastislav Stana in as relief.

The Danes hit the post behind Stana on the first shot he faced and then goalie settled in and held ground for six minutes before he was victimized for three goals in less then 3 minutes.

Morten Madsen scored on a scramble at 10:52 for a 4-0 lead while the Danes had a power play. Morten Green's point shot made it 5-0 at 12:21 and Stefan Lassen's goal at 13:42 on a slap shot then equaled Denmark's record for most goals in a game and tied, albert briefly, the IIHF's mark of the most goals in a period in the Elite Division of international hockey.

"It was amazing. We are big underdogs before the game but we came out strong," said defensemen Alexander Sundberg. "It is a nice feeling right now, a nice feeling."

Denmark goalie Patrick Galbraith faced only three shots in the opening period, and his best save in the game came early in the 3rd period. Andrej Podkonicky got behind Denmark's defense and he ripped a crisp wrist shot that Galbraith got his trapper on to knock the puck out of harm's way just before the five minute mark.

The Slovaks were better defensively in the 2nd and 3rd periods and much better on offence, but it was to late for heroics because the damage had already been done. Denmark played well and we didn't. We gave them easy power plays in the beginning and they scored their goals. We've got two more games to go, and we have to recover.

"It's not over, this is a tournament and that's a good thing for us." said Slovakia's Ivan Majesky. "We'll have to play better defensively in our next game against Finland, and we hope we can score some goals."

From Risto Pakarinen

Finland 2 Belarus 0 (0-0, 2-0, 0-0)

Finland VS. Belarus Game Photos:

From Colonge, Germany: They was always a chance that Belarus' tight defense and their goalie Andrei Mezin were going to make things difficult for Finland. Second period goals by Jarkko Immonen and Juha-Pekka Hytonen got Finland the win it wanted.

"Today was our 2nd game in less then 24 hours, we were tired, and it showed," Mezin said.

Pekka Rinne recorded the shutout for Finland, making 18 saves.

"The game went as expected and Pekka Rinne made a great comeback, and showed everybody why he is considered one of the best goalies in the NHL. It was an OK Game, not great, but not bad either." said Jussi Jokinen.

Sometimes, games go by exactly according to the manuscript, include some of the hardships that the favorites has to endure along the way to victory.

The fact that Belarus got out-shot 13-6, and created half-a-dozen good scoring chances and hit the post twice in the first period, wasn't a surprise to the Belarusian Players, or their goalie, Andrei Mezin. The game went according to plan, as far as they were considered. No need to panic.

The Finns on the other hand, didn't have to worry about not scoring any goals in the first period either. They knew that Belarus would try to defend their goal with all five skaters, and try to score the necessary goals either with a quick transition game on the power play. Finland would just have to focus on their own play, hold onto the puck, and pepper Mezin with shots.

"We knew how they play, that they're strong in the transition game. We put pressure on their defensemen and got turnovers in the zone," said Sami Vatanen, the 18 year old defensemen, playing in his first world Championship.

At 5:57 into the 2nd period, Finland got their power play opportunity when Belarus got a "too many men on the ice" penalty. The Finns cycled the puck around the Belarus zone quickly, and then Antti Miettinen sent the puck to Jarkko Immonen received the puck on his forehand, and then it sent it past Mezin with a quick wraparound shot, next to the left post.

"I've had chances there before, there's a little space, so I can press the puck to the middle, or try to do something myself," said Immonen, who leads his team in goal scoring, with three.

"That just shows the sorry state our offense if i'm the leading goal scorer, we have to come up with something," he joked.

Belarus had a few chances in the 2nd period, but the game seemed to be over when Juha-Pekka Hytonen, Immonen's Jyvaskyla teammate from last year, beat Mezin low on the gloveside with a slapshot from the point at 12:19.

In the third, Finland made sure the game didn't slip away. And it didn't.

"They have great speed and hard to compete. We didn't have a great second period," Mezin said.

His teammates Kirill Gotovets was carried off on a stretcher in the 2nd period, after he was checked to the boards by Finland's Oskar Osala. No penalty was called in the situation, but Gotovets was taken to a hospital with concussion symptoms.

Finland's next game is on Monday against Slovakia. While Belarus will play host Germany on Sunday Night.

Group E Standings after 5/14

Qualifying Round Format: You take the combo of games from both the Prelim and Qualifying Rounds. You drop the game against the Team that is playing in the Relegation Round. After the 2nd Round ends, the top 4 in both groups advance to the Quarterfinals where they will cross over.

1. Denmark 2-0-0-1 6 PTS 11-4

2. Russia 2-0-0-0 6 PTS 6-2

3. Finland 2-0-0-1 6 PTS 6-4

4. Germany 1-0-0-1 3 PTS 3-2

5. Slovakia 1-0-0-2 3 PTS 5-11

6. Belarus 0-0-0-3 0 PTS 3-9

Group E Schedule

5/14: Slovakia 0 Denmark 6 (0-6, 0-0, 0-0)

5/14: Finland 2 Belarus 0 (0-0, 2-0, 0-0)

5/15: Russia VS. Germany

5/16: Denmark VS. Russia

5/16: Germany VS. Belarus

5/17: Finland VS. Slovakia

5/17: Belarus VS. Denmark

5/18: Slovakia VS. Germany

5/18: Russia VS. Finland

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