World Championships 2007 Day Six

Wednesday, 2nd May 2007

The final day of the preliminary round with Italy and Latvia in Group A and Germany and Norway in Group C going head to head to clinch the third qualifying spots in the groups, whilst sending the losing team to the relegation round. The evening games between Sweden and Switzerland and Canada and Slovakia decided who topped the two groups and the bonus of an extra 3 points going into the second round.


ITALY 4 LATVIA 3 (after overtime)

Both teams came out taking no prisoners and strong forechecking by both sides was the order of the day. Latvia couldn't get into their stride and struggled against the physical Italians. Too much physical play resulted in a powerplay to Latvia at 14:22 and 29 seconds later took full advantage when Darzins tipped an Oleg Sorokin shot onto the goalies pads then lifted home the rebound. 1-0 Latvia. No further scoring and Latvia take a deserved lead into the first break.

Latvia fell foul of the referee on 22:55 and it only took Italy 4 seconds to equalise. A simplistic goal as Italy won the face off in the Latvian zone and Strazzabosco passed laterally on the blue line to fellow D man Lorenzo who shot on goal. Jason Cirone picked up the rebound to fire through Naumov's five hole. 1-1. Italy sensed they could maybe get something from this game and drove hard on the Latvian net at every opportunity. Despite a couple of chances at both ends, there was no further scoring and at the end of 40 minutes the score, Italy 1 Latvia 1.

There was no hint of things to come as the first 10 minutes of the third meandered along with chances for Vasiljevs and Tribuncovs for Latvia and Scandella for Italy. Italy almost handed Latvia the lead on 47:32 as Hell in the Italian goal let a trickled shot from the left side go through his pads and was poked over the line by the on rushing Latvian forward. However luck was on his side as the referee decided he had already blown the play dead before the puck crossed the line. It was the Latvian's turn to pick up the tempo and at 51:43 the pressure paid off. Cipulis broke free behind the net and shot on goal. Hell coughed up the rebound and Vasiljevs sent a pass across the creas to Daugavins who hammered home for 2-1. It was pandemonium in the last three and a half minutes as three goals were scored. Firstly Ansoldi drove down the right and just threw the puck on goal. The rubber deflected off the skate of Lavins, leaving Naumovs stranded. 2-2. On 17:41, Naumovs rebounded the puck to the right face off circle and Borgatello, once of Dundee Stars fame, smashed a slap shot and bulged the net. 3-2 Italy and Latvia, and their fans looked shell shocked. Deep Latvian joy returned just 28 seconds later when Darzins picked up a loose puck near the left post and fired it high into the net. Things calmed down and the game went into the first ever overtime in the Preliminary round of the World Championships.

The game was heading to penalty shots when, with only 50 seconds left on the clock of the five minute overtime, Cirone picked up a cross ice pass from Signoretti and fired the puck past the flailing Naumovs to send the Italians wild with delight.

Italy keep their elite status and Latvia go to the relegation round to try and preserve theirs which they have held on to since 1997.


Sweden cruised into the second round with their third victory against a Swiss side that competed well for the first period but collapsed in the second as the Tre Krone upped the pace.

The first period was goalless but Sweden were well on top as the Swiss fell foul of the referee and spent a fair time in the box. Lucky for them that the Swedish powerplay was struggling to find its form. Shots on goal favoured the Swedes by 10-1 but this was not a true reflection on the Swiss efforts in the first 20 minutes.

I have a feeling that the Swedes were given the “Alex Ferguson tea cup routine” in the break and they came out of the traps like greyhounds in the second. On 21 minutes exactly Martensson saw Aebischer too far out of his goal and bounced the puck off Martin Thornberg into the empty net. Three minutes later and the Swedish powerplay finally came good. Sralman drove between the Swiss defenders and deked Aebischer to fire home stickside. A minute after this it was 3-0, when, again on the powerplay Hornqvist deflected a Hallberg shot past the despairing Aebischer. 3 goals in the first 3:46 of the period and the game was over as a contest. 27:42 and it was 4-0 when another Hallberg shot pinged off the crossbar and the puck dropped right on the tape of Davidsson's stick and he hit home with a neat cross shot. Switzerland's only real chance in the period was on 32 minutes as Sprunger and Wirz skated in on a 2 on 1 but Sprunger's shot came back off the post. Sweden continued their domination and on 38:22 Davidsson got his second and Sweden's 5th when he was in the right place at the right time to pick up a rebound off an Enstrom shot to score. End of the period and a dominant Sweden lead 5-0.

Sweden continued to run the show in the third period but were only able to mark once, with Warg passing to Wallin to score past Aebischer on 47 minutes. Near the end of the game, Switzerland had 4 consecutive powerplays but were unable to break the shut out and trudged off dejectedly at the final hooter.

Sweden are peaking and will take a bit of stopping on this form. Big games to come for them against Russia and Finland later in the week. Switzerland go into the final round to face the other big boys and must be fearful of the results.



Newly promoted Germany move to the second round after a see saw game against favoured Norway.

An over fussy referee dished out 2 minors to each team in the first 8 minutes and on the last of these, Germany took the lead. Hackert scored on a rebound after Grotnes failed to hold a shot from Gogula. With Ask in the box on a holding penalty, the Germans doubled their lead on 14:45. Michael Wolf sending the puck home with assists from Gogula and Dietrich. End of the period and Germany comfortable with a 2-0 lead.

Norway seemed to realise that they had to up the effort if they were to avoid the relegation round and took the game to Germany. Mats Trygg made it a one goal game on 22:08 with a direct shot through Petzold's legs. 48 seconds later and Norway tied the game on the powerplay as Ask picked up a rebound to send it searing past Petzold. Germany's world was falling apart and they went behind on 24:25 with a goal from Lars Spets. 3 goals in just over 2 minutes for Norway turned this game on its head.
Uwe Krupp called a time out to steady the ship and it worked with an equalising goal from Wolf at 24:25. John Tripp, a Canadian playing in his first Championship for Germany scored as he fooled Grotnes into thinking he was going to pass along the crease. Instead he fired the puck into the net off the outstretched pads of the goalie.
Barta increased the lead to 5-3 near the end of the period  with Grotnes again being fooled by the play. The goalie set himself for a pass across the crease only to look on in horror as Barta shot from a wide angle into the net. A poor period for Grotnes.

There was little action in the third period apart from a brief spell near the end as Norway, on a 5 on 3 powerplay, pulled the goalie for a sixth outskater but Germany stood firm and closed out the game.

The sheer delight on the German players faces at the hooter was only outmatched by the cheering from their band of about 100 fans behind the net.

Germany hold onto their status and Norway must fight it out in the relegation round starting Friday.


Canada and Slovakia served up a hockey treat for the crowd tonight as the North Americans edged a nine goal thriller.

The first goal of the game and a taste of things to come, happened on 2:06, just 11 seconds into a powerplay for Slovakia. Jurcina one timed a superb shot from left point off a pass from Marian Gaborik. It only took Canada just over a minute to gain parity, again on the powerplay and also a similar goal to that of the Slovaks. Nash fed Murphy on the point and his one timer beat Halak for 1-1. The period ended 1-1 with 18 shots on goal between the teams and Canada just shading the better of the play.

Canada took the lead after only 25 seconds of the second period as Halak totally missed the puck behind the net and Chimer found Mayers rushing into the slot. A precise shot between the pads of the desperate Halak and it was 2-1. Slovakia wasted over a minute of a 5 on 3 powerplay as the Canadian threesome held firm. Around the half way mark in the game, the two teams shared 4 goals in 6 minutes. Firstly, Canada went 3-1 up with a powerplay goal as Toews held the puck just long enough for Brewer to move in and the latter directed the pass high over the goalie's shoulder. Slovakia got one back after goalscorer Brewer turned villain as he allowed Hossa to pinch the puck from him deep in the Canadian defensive zone and Hossa made a beautiful deke to fool Rolason and send the puck home into the empty net. 81 seconds later and Canada restored their 2 goal lead. Doane cycled the puck in the corner to Nash, who immediately drove the net and got his shot off on Halak. The rebound fell to Dan Hamuis who sent the loose rubber over the goalie for 4-2. Two minutes later and it was a one goal game again. Kapus found Stehlik breaking through centre ice  and hit the perfect pass for Stehlik to fire past Roloson on his glove side. That was it for a hectic, entertaining second period. Canada 4 Slovakia 3.

This game was going to be as easy to predict as six lottery numbers as the third continued in the same vein. Plenty of attacking play, and plenty of mistakes made this game one of the best to watch in the tournament. Slovakia equalised early in the third as Roloson made another mistake. The goalie's nightmare continued as he tried to play the puck from behind his net. Marek Uram was all over him and won the puck and found Satan all alone, who fired the puck home before Roloson could recover. With 11 minutes of the game left Canada took the lead with the game winning goal. Murphy sent a blistering shot on goal from the point which was tipped by Nash on the edge of the crease into the net. Slovakia pulled the goalie for the last minute but the defence held firm and Canada won the game and the group.

An outstanding game of hockey between two attack minded teams and both will go into the second round full of confidence.

Another exciting day ends with four superb games of hockey producing 30 goals. The second phase starts on Thursday with the teams re organising into two groups of 6 with teams matching up against those they have not already played. Top 4 in each group advance to the knockout quarter final stage. The four teams who finished bottom of the groups now meet in a round robin do or die relegation round with the top two finishers retaining their elite place and the bottom two dropping down to Division 1

See you tomorrow