International Ice Hockey Federation

Norway grabs second victory

Thoresen line leads charge, Slovenia winless

Published 09.05.2017 19:03 GMT+2 | Author Lucas Aykroyd
Norway grabs second victory
PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 9: Norway's Ken Andre Olimb #40 is congratulated by teammates after scoring against Slovenia during preliminary round action at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. (Photo by Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)
The Norwegians scored three unanswered goals in the first period and never looked back in a 5-1 win over Slovenia on Tuesday in Paris.

Ken Andre Olimb and Patrick Thoresen notched a goal and two assists apiece for Norway, and linemate Mathis Olimb had a goal and an assist. Kristian Forsberg and Aleksander Reichenberg added singles.

Robert Sabolic replied for Slovenia.

Goalie Lars Haugen backstopped Norway to its second win with 15 saves. Norway, which edged host France 3-2 in its opener, rebounded nicely after a 3-0 loss to Switzerland, playing a smart, opportunistic game.

"Our first game against France was our best game," said Norwegian captain Jonas Holos. "The Switzerland game wasn't so good, but we were up 3-0 today and that made it easier to play. You get energy by scoring. "

The newly promoted Slovenes are not helping their chances of staying in the top division. They’ve collected just one point from a 5-4 shootout loss to Switzerland.

"We didn't play as a team," said Slovenian captain Jan Mursak. "We didn't skate. We were sloppy. We weren't ready. We have to battle for every puck, and then good things will happen. We haven't played a game like that yet."

Norway’s top line opened the scoring at 5:57. Ken Andre Olimb got the puck behind the net to Patrick Thoresen, and he sent a Gretzky-like pass to Mathis Olimb, who slid it between Slovenian starter Matija Pintaric’s legs.

The Olimb party continued at 14:35, as Thoresen acquired the puck on the forecheck and slid it past Slovenian defenders to Ken Andre Olimb, who, unmolested, roofed it home.

The Norwegians made it 3-0 at 18:20. Forsberg grabbed a loose puck in the high slot and winged it past Pintaric’s blocker.

"That's the third time in a row we've had a bad start," said Mursak.

To start the second period, Slovenia made a goaltending change, inserting Gasper Kroselj in place of Pintaric. But it had little effect. Haugen held down the fort when the Slovenes pressed during a mid-period power play.

With the man advantage, Reichenberg put Norway up 4-0 with 1:02 left in the middle frame on a nifty rush. He cut in off right wing with little resistance from the Slovenes and tucked the puck home.

At 19:15, Sabolic spoiled Haugen’s shutout hopes with a slapper from the right faceoff circle. But that was as close as Slovenia would get.

A library-like atmosphere prevailed for most of the third period, although the Norwegian fans got to cheer one more time when Thoresen added some insurance with 43 seconds remaining.

"I think for all of us, this was the game everyone was most nervous about coming in," said Norway's Andreas Martinsen. "It may be the only game of the tournament that we're expected to win. And we have to win, if we expect to stay up. It was big for us, and now we can breathe a little bit." 

The Slovenes must try to make more noise against favored Finland on Wednesday. Norway's next opponent is the Czech Republic on Thursday.

Slovenian forward Ziga Jeglic missed his second game due to a suspension for a kicking infraction. He is eligible to return for the game versus Finland.