The clash between the host nations of 2017 was one of the afternoon games on the second day of the IIHF World Championships. Led by goalkeeper Dennis Endras, Team Germany escaped with a close win against the French team.
France had the first chances on the man advantage in the 5th minute, when Damien Raux tested the reactions of Dennis Endras. He passed the test, but was also helped by the post on Stephane Da Costa’s shot a few minutes later. The Germans had their first scoring chances with Daniel Pietta and Yasin Ehliz, but the French seemed to have the extra edge in the first ten minutes of play.
In the 13th minute Tobias Rieder, the only NHL-player on the German roster, went hard on net and Michael Wolf was there for the rebound. Not only was it the go-ahead-goal for his team, but with this goal, the member of Red Bull Munich registered his 50th goal for the national team.
This goal seemed to have been what Germany needed, as in the remainder of the period it was the team coached by Pat Cortina to create the majority of chances. Thomas Oppenheimer had the best one, but former NHL-goalkeeper Cristobal Huet stood on his head.
Germany continued to be the more active team also after the first intermission and twice was only centimeters away from scoring its second goal. Huet had to feel quite lucky when Patrick Köppchen’s deflection missed the net and in the 32nd minute it was Brent Raedeke, not to capitalize on the rebound of Yannic Seidenberg’s shot.
The French tried to find an answer to the German pressure and Damien Fleury found a good scoring chance, but his slap shot missed the net high. So the ‘tricolore’ had to go into the second intermission still down a goal.
Already in the first minute of play Antoine Roussel had an opportunity to find the equalizer on an two on one situation, but another huge save by Dennis Endras, DEL-champion with the ‘Adler Mannheim’, prevented France from taking the lead.
France kept pressuring and had quite a few odd man rushes, before they deservedly scored the tying goal. Germany was not able to clear the puck, leaving CSKA-forward Da Costa alongside Damien Fleury alone in front of Endras, who had no chance alone against the French forwards.
The 52nd minute featured two great opportunities on both sides. Tobias Rieder of the Phoenix Coyotes only hit the post and on the counter attack Sascha Treille was once again denied by Dennis Endras, the undeniable MVP of the game.
France had more chances in the final minutes, but with 59 seconds to go it was Germany’s Patrick Reimer to decide the game. Treille was on the penalty box and the referee signaled a delayed penalty, so the Germans could play a 6 on 4 situation. Patrick Hager saw Reimer in the slot, who capitalized to score the game winning goal for Team Germany.
Definitely a tough loss France, who in the next game will play against another loser from today, as Switzerland will be their opponent tomorrow. Germany’s chances might be significally lower to earn points on Sunday though, since they will face Sidney Crosby and the rest of the Canadian national team.