Seeking to regain Worlds mojo
Seeking to regain Worlds mojo
Norway looking to improve standing
Norway is another of the emerging hockey countries that has found some measure of success at the World Championship in recent years. Head coach Roy Johansen has done much to make his team competitive at the elite level of international hockey but a 12th-place finish at the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship was their worst showing since 2009.
Norway will need a fine effort from its corps of veteran returnees with tournament experience to even come close to replicating their sixth-place finish at the 2011 World Championship in Slovakia.
Lars Haugen was instrumental in Norway’s sixth place finish at the 2011 World Championship. He made his senior men's debut in that tournament, backstopping his team to its first ever win against Sweden. In playing all seven games that year and earning three wins, Haugen helped Norway reach the quarter-finals before losing to eventual gold medal winner Finland. Since that time, Haugen has been the team’s starting goaltender and should play a lot here in the Czech Republic. Lars Volden, a veteran who has played in Norway, Finland and Sweden, would be the backup, unless third goaltender Steffen Soberg finds a way to displace him.
Mats Trygg made his senior men’s World Championship debut on the elite level at the tender age of 22. Now some 15 tournaments later, Trygg is the veteran influence on the team and has been one of its most important players over the years. Trygg is a puck moving defenceman whose offensive skills have been well documented in international play. At the 2012 World Championship he scored five goals.Continue reading
Jonas Holos has proved to be a vital piece of the Norwegian defence. Also at the 2012 tournament, Holos, 27, scored four goals and nine points in what was his finest performance in a tournament. Nicholai Bryhnisveen played in one World Championship game in 2014 against Canada and notched an assist. That has been the sole experience he’s had on the international level. Resident agitator and blueline leader Ole-Kristian Tollefsen offers a provoking presence. Tollefsen is one of seven Norwegian players to have played in the NHL.
Henrik Odegaard, Stefan Espeland, Daniel Sorvik have 40 games of World Championship experience among them. Mattias Norstebo, if chosen for the team, will make his senior team debut at the age of 19.
Morten Ask remains one of Norway’s consistent performers when put into a role on the top-two lines. Ask has 14 career World Championship goals. Mathis Olimb is Norway’s resident playmaker. He has notched 31 assists in 48 World Championship games. Ken Olimb returns and is coming off an impressive campaign with Dusseldorf in the DEL. Anders Bastiansen has scored two or more goals for Norway in six of the nine World Championships he’s participated including a career high four in 2013. Possible returnees include Martin Roymark, Kristian Forsberg, Robin Dahlstrom, and Niklas Roest.
A late addition to the team is Patrick Thoresen. Thoresen was remarkable at the 2012 World Championship where he scored seven goals and 18 points in eight games. Norway scored 16 goals and had the seventh best scoring efficiency in Minsk. This must improve, along with their ability to generate quality scoring chances.
Roy Johansen is Norway’s most successful coach at the elite level of the World Championships. Since taking over the team from Leif Boork in 2001, Norway has, on the top end, achieved a sixth-place finish and, at the other end, a 14th-place finish. Usually middle of the pack, Norway is a tough team to play against and last year was no exception. Norway gave Sweden and Canada all they could handle in the tournament, losing each game by one goal. This level of competitiveness has made Norway a team that cannot be overlooked. Perhaps this year will be their time to replicate their success from years past. If so, Johansen is the man poised to get the most out of his charges who know his expectations and system.
Norway stands a chance to not only competing but earning a spot in the quarter-finals. But for this to happen they will need to have a good showing against the elite nations and then winning their games against teams they are equally matched or have some advantage over. Experience will count for this team.
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