International Ice Hockey Federation

Germany claws back for win

Germany claws back for win

Plachta's late goal completes comeback

Published 09.05.2015 13:17 GMT+2 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Germany claws back for win
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - MAY 8: Germany's Benedikt Kohl #34 knocks Latvia's Kaspars Daugavins #16 on top of goaltender Dennis Endras #44 during preliminary round action at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Matthias Plachta scored at 17:38 of the third period to break a 1-1 tie and give Germany a crucial 2-1 win over Latvia in Group A.

Plachta's shot hit the crossbar and dropped down and was considered no goal until video review a minute later. Slow motion showed the puck drop down inside the red line, giving the Germans three crucial points in the standings.

"I didn’t think it was in," Plachta admitted. "I didn’t see it. It was right behind the goalie. But then I guess the ref checked it, and I guess it was in. Now we’re all happy."

Germany now has six points in the standings to move into fifth place while Latvia remains in last place with just two.

Both teams have played five games and have two remaining. Germany plays the Czechs on Sunday and Austria on Monday. Latvia plays Austria tomorrow and after a two-day break will play France on Tuesday.

The Latvians came out to start the game with far more determination than the Germans. They stormed the net and created several good scoring chances but failed to make that key finishing play.

Midway through the period they got a well-earned power play and were rewarded with a goal. Kaspars Daugavins, the best player on the ice in the period, threaded a sensational pass through traffic to Lauris Darzins, and Darzins drilled a shot in the back side for a 1-0 Latvia lead at 11:05.

A short time later Darzins almost scored again, but he was dragged down by Benedikt Kohl, drawing Germany’s third penalty of the period.

To their credit, the Latvians didn’t let up to start the second period. They thought they had a second goal early on when Mikelis Redlihs chipped it in, but it was disallowed because teammate Miks Indrasis was in the crease, in behind goaiie Dennis Endras.

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Although that was the only puck to cross the goal line in the period, the Latvians drew two more penalties, but they couldn’t convert either. Regardless, they played aggressive and confident hockey and were fully deserving of their 1-0 lead after 40 minutes. The Germans, though, despite being the second best team on the ice, were still only one shot away from tying the score.

"I think we had a tough start," said German captain Michael Wolf. "In the first two periods, they had five power plays and we had none. I think yesterday against Sweden was a tough game for us, and our legs weren’t there like they usually are. We kept it open, though."

Latvia's discipline fell by the wayside early in the third. Janis Sprukts clipped Patrick Koppchen with a dangerous knee-on-knee hit and was given a five-minute major and game misconduct, and on the ensuing power play the Germans managed to tie the game.

Patrick Reimer's shot was stopped by Masalskis, who was drawn out of position, and Wolf swept the puck in at 6:46. No sooner had that penalty expired than the Latvians were called for too many men, but to the Latvians' credit that seven minutes of short-handed play cost them only the one goal.

"I think we had a good power play," Wolf said. "We moved the puck around pretty well. Everything was good. Patrick Reimer took a good shot on net and the goalie couldn’t stop it. I just put the rebound in. Those are the goals we need."

That set the stage for Plachta's late-game heroics and put Latvia in a deep hole. Demotion is now a real possibility unless the team can beat Austria tomorrow.

"We played half the third period on the PK," said Lauris Darzins. "It’s tough. Still, I think we should have played a little bit better, obviously. We can’t lose a period 2-0. In a 1-1 hockey game, we still had a chance to get it to overtime or maybe win it in penalty shots. We allowed the second goal, so it’s really frustrating for sure."


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