International Ice Hockey Federation

Norway comes back

Norway comes back

Johansen’s boys stay perfect, Denmark winless

Published 11.05.2014 19:58 GMT+3 | Author Lucas Aykroyd
Norway comes back
MINSK, BELARUS - MAY 11: Norway's Jonas Holos #6 high fives the bench with Mathis Olimb #46 after scoring Team Norway's first goal of the game during preliminary round action at the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Riding a hot power play, Norway rallied from a 2-0 first-period deficit to defeat the Danes 4-3. Mats Trygg scored the PP winner in the third period.

Jonas Holos and Ken Andre Olimb also tallied with the man advantage for Norway, while Per-Age Skroder converted on a penalty shot.

Morten Poulsen, Frederik Storm, and Jannik Hansen replied for Denmark.

"We took too many penalties, and we've got to do a better job of staying out of the box," said Storm. "It was just too many penalties in a row for a while there, and also getting a penalty shot called against us."

After a shaky start, Norwegian goalie Lars Haugen pulled himself together to outdo Denmark’s Simon Nielsen. Norway outshot Denmark 27-18.

It’s not a good beginning for a Danish team that hasn’t even made the top 10 since peaking with a quarter-final berth and eight-place finish in Germany 2010. The Danes lost 3-0 to Sweden in their opener.

Conversely, the Norwegians, who blanked Italy 3-0 in their first game, look more confident than they did in February at the Sochi Olympics. There, they mustered just three goals in four games and finished last out of 12 teams.

"We had a bad start [in this game], of course," said Norwegian coach Roy Johansen. "But the players fought hard through the whole game, and all four lines played well."

Norway got the game’s first big chance when Kristian Forsberg had a partial breakaway that Nielsen stopped. But at 2:35, Poulsen ended Denmark’s goalless streak, banging in a power play rebound for a 1-0 lead.

Just 20 seconds later, Storm came down the right wing and used Norwegian defenceman Henrik Odegard as a decoy, firing the puck inside the goalie’s right post. Some coaches might have pulled their goalie in this situation, but Johansen chose to stick with his starter.

Holos cut the Danish lead to 2-1 at 6:30 with the man advantage when he powered a slapper from the blueline high past Nielsen’s stick side.

With about five minutes left in the first period, Haugen bore down to make a nice save on a Jesper Jensen breakaway. Although trailing, Norway outshot Denmark 11-5 in the first 20 minutes.

Denmark was its own worst enemy with poor discipline in the second period, giving Norway four power plays and a penalty shot.

The Norwegians made it 2-2 with a power play marker at 2:39. Cutting across the front of the net, Ken Andre Olimb took a sweet feed from Morten Ask and beat a sprawling Nielsen with a high backhand.

Operating with the power play midway through the game, Norway took full advantage of a golden opportunity. A penalty shot was called at 11:29 after Danish defenceman Oliver Lauridsen grabbed Skroder streaking for the net.

On his attempt, Skroder looped toward the net, faked a slap shot, and slid the puck underneath a prone Nielsen’s blocker hand to make it 3-2.

"The goalie followed me on the deke quite well, so I had to hold on the puck a little longer than I had planned to," said Skroder. "But it looked like he had some trouble with the stick as he was going down, so he was kind of tripped up by himself there, which gave me a space to shoot at."

Continuing to shoot themselves in the foot, the Danes took a too-many-men penalty at 11:12 of the third period. Trygg hit the crossbar early in the power play, but the veteran of 10 IIHF World Championships blasted his next center point attempt past Nielsen to put Norway up 4-2.

"Sometimes there are good penalties, but today it was not so good penalties," said Danish coach Janne Karlsson.

With just over five minutes remaining, the Danes had one last opportunity to get back in it with a two-man advantage for 1:33. Jannik Hansen got Denmark within one goal, slamming the puck into a gaping cage when it became a 5-on-4, with 3:33 remaining.

But the Vancouver Canuck veteran's goal was as close as the red-and-white squad would get, despite pulling their netminder for the extra attacker in the dying seconds.

"Having six points after two games is huge,"said Skroder. "Everybody at home had ruled us out going into the tournament, but we knew we had quality within the group. We play for each other. Nothing's strange. We have our game. It's not pretty, but we're getting the points."

Denmark has never defeated Norway at an IIHF World Championship. This was Norway’s fifth consecutive victory dating back to 2006. Last year in Stockholm, Norway beat Denmark 3-2 in its second game.

Norway's next challenge is Sweden, while the Danes will try to pick up some points against Italy.

"We have to take away time from the Swedish players," said Skroder. "They have a lot of skilled players."


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