International Ice Hockey Federation

Green SO goal saves the day

Slovakia comeback falls just short

Published 09.05.2017 23:06 GMT+2 | Author John Sanful
Green SO goal saves the day
COLOGNE, GERMANY - MAY 9: Denmark's Patrick Russell #60 celebrates with Mikkel Aagaard #42 after scoring a second period goal against Slovakia's Julius Hudacek #33 while Martin Gernat #28 looks on during preliminary round action at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Denmark took at 3-0 lead into the final twenty minutes but Slovakia fought back to bring the game to overtime. Morten Green's shootout goal lifts Denmark.

Over the first two periods, Denmark established a three goal lead but things took a turn in the final frame and became a thrilling affair at LANXESS Arena. Three third period goals brought the Slovaks back to a tie game and send it to overtime then a shootout.

"It's a little disappointing that we gave away a 3-0 lead there, the worst thing for us was giving up an easy goal in the third period and letting them back." Juliam Jakobsen said. "But we've got two points, we're in this tournament now and we can go on from there."

To start, Slovakia did not help themselves with three minor penalties in the first period. Juraj Mikus was called for two of them. First, Mikus was called for holding when he took down Frederik Storm who was breaking towards the net. A minute after being released from the sin bin, Mikus was again called for holding but the Slovakia shorthanded units held their ground.

A third penalty was called, this time on Libor Hudacek at 15:01 for slashing. Denmark made them pay. Nichlas Hardt received a pass from Storm then scored with a shot that went high over Julius Hudacek’s glove hand shoulder with 3:40 remaining in the first period. It was Hardt’s second goal of the tournament. Morten Green also got an assist.

Denmark extended their lead to 2-0 at 4:46 of the second period when Mathias Bau sent a precision pass to Patrick Russell who was striding towards the net for the tap in. For Russell, who signed with the Edmonton Oilers prior to coming here, it was his first ever senior men’s goal.

As time wound down in the middle frame, Denmark added a third goal. They came out of their zone with a two-on-one. Oliver Lauridsen found Morten Poulsen on the far left side. He sent a pass that just eluded the Slovak defender and Poulsen redirected it home. The goal came with 2.4 remaining in the second period.

Oliver Lauridsen picked up assists on both goals, giving him two points in the game and doubling his previous tournament offensive numbers. In 29 World Championship games coming into tonight Lauridsen had a lone assist.

Slovakia looked far from sharp. Going back to their opening game, they have lacked the finish and polish of team’s they’ve iced in the past. There was little in the way of sustained offensive pressure to put the Danes back on their heels. But by the third period, Slovakia was a different team in finding their scoring touch and playing their best hockey of the tournament.

Slovakia got on the board very early in the third when Martin Gernat send a slap shot that goaltender Sebastien Dahm was unable to stop at 1:22.

Three minutes later, Mattias Lassen was called for delaying the game. Slovakia moved the puck well and with :25 second remaining on the penalty they scored again. Vladimir Dravecky sent a backhand pass to Marcel Hascak between the faceoff circles and Mario Bliznak was there to capitalize. 

Libor Hudacek almost tied the contest when a Gernat pass went between Danish defenseman Matias Lassen’s skates to Hudacek, who could not lift the puck over a sprawled out Dahm.

But when Denmark’s Nicholas Jensen was called for a high sticking double minor, Michel Miklik drew the game even 3-3 at 11:53.

"We had some adversity in the third period." Dahm said. "Slovakia came with a lot of mementum at then end of the game."

As the clock was ticking down in the final minutes, Denmark thought they regained the lead when Mikus misplayed a puck at the point and it eluded him into the neutral zone. Julian Jakobsen took possession of the puck and was in on a partial breakaway. His initial shot was stopped but he took another whack at it from the crease as a Slovak defenseman was falling into goaltender Julius Hudacek.

The puck crossed the line as the net was dislodged. After a video review, it was ruled that the goal was off the moorings before the puck crossed the line and ruled no goal.

In overtime, Slovakia had some chances and Denmark a power play in the final :27 seconds but neither team scored to send the game to a shootout.

In the shootout, Morten Green scored the only goal that would give Denmark its first win of the 2017 World Championships.

"We kept believing in our chances going into overtime and the old guy stepped up and put the team on his back." Dahm said of the 36-year-old Green and his shootout heroics.

For Denmark, it was their first win over Slovakia in seven years. Denmark last tasted victory at the 2010 World Championships, also in Germany when they won 6-0. 

"I think we came together more as a team and we were ready to battle all the way through the game even though they got three pretty easy goals in the third I think we knuckled down and pulled it through." Jakobsen said of the effort.