Germany stuns US at ice hockey world championships
Germany 2 United States 1
PARIS — Winger Patrick Hager scored a late winning goal on his home ice as Germany stunned the United States with a 2-1 win on the opening day of the ice hockey world championships on Friday.
Three minutes after the Americans had equalized through defenceman Connor Murphy, the Germans scored a scrappy second on a power-play with six minutes remaining. Left winger Hager got the slightest touch to Yannic Seidenberg’s slapshot through traffic and goaltender Jimmy Howard was beaten from close range.
“We had good energy coming into the game and we had to channel that in the right way,” Hager said. “We worked hard, and we worked as a team.”
At the Lanxess Arena in Cologne, where Hager plays his club hockey for DEL team Koelner Haie, more than 18,000 fans watched the Germans go 1-0 ahead 11 minutes into the first period through Arizona Coyotes right winger Tobias Rieder. He showed good composure to finish from close range after a speculative shot from the right was poorly dealt with by Howard, who allowed the puck to cannon off his pad.
“It was the first game of the tournament, the crowd was crazy and that definitely helped,” German centre Brooks Macek said. “I think you could see that in our game, we were skating, blocking shots, we were doing the right things.”
Although Hager got the dramatic winner, German goaltender Thomas Greiss — who plays for the New York Islanders — showed his NHL credentials and was named man of the match.
Greiss made 42 saves, including a point-blank pad save from Johnny Gaudreau late in the first period, after the Calgary Flames forward had bamboozled the defence with a super-slick spin and shot on the run. Gaudreau missed a one-on-one right at the start, and was frustrated by Greiss all night.
Greiss made more fine saves until Murphy — Rieder’s NHL teammate at Arizona — equalized with nine minutes remaining in the third period with a wrist shot from the top of the right circle.
The U.S. thought it was 2-1 up just moments later, but Islanders forward Anders Lee’s shot was somehow scooped right off the line by off-balance defenceman Frank Hordler.
Lee was quick to pay tribute to his club teammate Greiss.
“I knew it was going to be a tough game; it always is when Greiss is in the net,” Lee said. “I’ve seen what he can do all season and tonight he played an extremely good game.”
The Germans are back in Group A action Saturday night against Sweden, while the Americans face Denmark on Sunday.
The tournament’s matches are split between Paris and Cologne.