Germans nip France
Germans nip France
Reimer pots winner with 59 seconds left
Patrick Hager skated along the goal line to French netminder Cristobal Huet's left and threaded a perfect pass to Reimer in the left faceoff circle for a one-timer that found the short side at 19:01.
The Germans had struggled with their power play in their opener, and finally clicked on their fifth man advantage.
"We were lucky to get a power-play situation near the end of the game," Reimer said. "Our PP wasn’t that good during the game, but we knew this was a big chance to win the game."
"We played a good game, but I took a bad penalty and it cost us the game," said France's Sascha Treille, who went to the sin bin for hooking 13 seconds earlier.
Michael Wolf also scored for Germany, while Damien Fleury replied for France. The French trailed 1-0 for more than 38 minutes in this game, and couldn't tie it up again after pulling Huet for the extra attacker with 29 seconds left.
With chants of “Deutschland!” resounding through the O2 Arena, the Germans had louder support at the start. But many of the Czech fans in the crowd of 14,903 urged on the French as the evening wore on.
Huet and German goalie Dennis Endras recorded 24 saves apiece. It is the 11th World Championship for the 39-year-old Huet, who is now tied with Latvia’s Edgars Masalskis for the second-most tournaments behind the USSR’s Vladislav Tretiak and Belarus’s Andrei Mezin (13).
Julien Desrosiers took the injured Pierre Bellemarre’s place on France’s top line alongside 2014 tournament all-star Antoine Roussel and Stephane da Costa.
At 12:10, Wolf opened the scoring. With the Germans cycling the puck behind the net, Tobias Rieder burst out and tried to center it, and it bounced off the side of the net out to Wolf, who capitalized with a high shot.
"We kept the puck in the zone and cycled a bit, trying to go hard to the net," Wolf said. "I managed to get the puck and go high glove, so it was post and in. It was nice for us."
With 49 seconds left in the first, Huet made a sparkling glove save on a one-timer by Thomas Oppenheimer, Germany’s leading scorer at last year’s Worlds.
After a scoreless second period, Endras had to be sharp to foil Roussel as he surged in off right wing for a close-in chance in the opening minute of the third.
Midway through the third, the German goalie came out to challenge French captain Laurent Meunier on a break and stopped a powerful slap shot with his blocker arm.
With 9:16 remaining, Fleury notched the equalizer. Germany's Yannic Seidenberg turned it over in his own zone, and Fleury grabbed the rebound from Da Costa's attempt and roofed it home.
"It’s frustrating to come back and tie the game and put so much effort into it and lose in the last minute," said Huet.
"After it was 1-0, we played like that was how the game was going to end," said Wolf. "We gave control of the game almost completely to France. We were lucky we got a power play at the end and scored. We’re happy about the win."
Last year, France recorded its best result of the modern era, coming eighth. The Germans are trying to improve on their 14th-place finish in Minsk.
This has always been a tightly contested rivalry. Dating back to 1934, Germany’s all-time World Championship record against France now sits at five wins and four losses.
On Sunday, the Germans take on Canada, while France faces Switzerland.
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