Denmark's derby delight
Denmark's derby delight
Norway defeated in Viking clash
Denmark got its first ever victory over Norway in top division World Championship play to take a giant step towards confirming its participation at this level for another year.
A 4-1 win in Ostrava was the Danes’ first success in this Viking derby since a 4-3 success in Division I play back in 2002, and the first time the team had ever prevailed over its neighbour by more than a single goal.
Goals from Nicholas Jensen, Daniel Nielsen, Frederik Storm and Julian Jakobsen led Denmark to an important win that opens up a four-point cushion over eighth-placed Slovenia, which must now get at least one point from Sunday’s game against the USA to have any chance of escaping relegation for the first time since 2005.
Denmark's captain Morten Green said: "We had them under control. They brought it to us for six or seven minutes in the second period but otherwise I think we had them under control, especially their talented first line.
"I think we were playing well throughout the tournament but today we cashed in."
While this was a big victory for Denmark it was also a huge defeat for the Norwegians. Back-to-back wins over Slovakia and Slovenia had given Roy Johansen’s team a fighting chance of sneaking into the last eight, but that hope was extinguished here.
With both teams playing for high stakes, the goals started flying in early. Denmark took the lead in the second minute through Nicholas Jensen, who surprised Lars Haugen with a long-range shot that flew past two defencemen and over the goalie’s shoulder.Continue reading
Norway retaliated almost immediately, Ken Andre Olimb tying it up after Mats Rosseli Olsen went round the back and popped the puck out in front of goal for his team-mate to shoot home through traffic. Two goals in four minutes, and it was starting to look like a long night for the goaltenders.
But things calmed down a little after that, although the Danes continued to create the better chances. Oliver Bjorkstrand, playing only his second game of the competition after arriving from the Portland Winterhawks in time for Friday’s 0-1 loss against the USA, forced a good save out of Haugen in the sixth minute as Norway found it tough to clear its zone for long periods.
The Norwegians were limited to opportunist raids, and the best of them saw Niklas Roest strip a defenceman of the puck and go one-on-one with Dahm only for the goalie to get the better of the duel and keep the scores level.
Seconds before the hooter sounded, though, Denmark got the goal it probably just about deserved on the balance of play. Daniel Nielsen was the scorer on the power play, smashing in a shot from the blue line while Mortan Madsen and Nichlas Hardt screened Haugen.
Norway had more of the game in the middle session, but its frustrations in front of goal cost it dear. Kristian Forsberg twice tangled with Dahm in the Denmark goal; the first time was inadvertent but the second resulted in an interference call in the 32nd minute. For the second time the Danish power play delivered: Jesper Jensen found Storm in plenty of space between the circles and he got a shot off though the large channel between Rosseli Olsen and Martin Roymark to make it 3-1.
Denmark goalie Dahm was pleased to atone for last year's game in Minsk, where Denmark gave up a 2-0 lead and lost 3-2. "Last year we thought we had them but Norway keeps going and never gives up," he said. "It was so hard not to let it creep into our minds that it is such a big game and you're holding a two-goal lead going into the third period. I tried to take it one shot at a time and play my own game."
In the third period Norway was forced to commit men forward, and despite coming close through a piledriver from Daniel Sorvik the game was decisively taken away in the 52nd minute with a lovely tic-tac-toe move. Madsen and Hardt carved out the opened and Jakobsen wrapped up the scoring.
That left Norway's hopes in tatters. "It sucks," said Ken Andre Olimb. "We knew we needed at least one point to have a chance but they were a bit better than us today. They maybe wanted it a little bit more and it feels really bad."
Norway continued to press but the closing stages were party time for the Danes, with an impressive performance from their travelling choir of fans to hymn a famous victory.
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