International Ice Hockey Federation

A night of firsts

A night of firsts

Norstebo nets pair in Norway’s historic win

Published 06.05.2015 23:06 GMT+2 | Author John Sanful
A night of firsts
OSTRAVA, CZECH REPUBLIC - MAY 6: Norway's Mats Rosseli Olsen #51 celebrates with Morten Ask #21 and Mattias Norstebo #10 after scoring Team Norway's second goal of the game during preliminary round action at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Three unanswered goals give Norway a 3-2 victory over Slovakia - the first-ever after previous eight losses in World Championship and Olympic play.

An early third period goal by defenceman Mattias Norstebo on the power play lifted Norway to their first win and points of the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. It was also their first win over Slovakia in World Championship history.

Before this game Norway had not beaten Slovakia in tournament play. They did come close in 2004 when they lost 3-2 in overtime. Tonight’s result was much different.

Norway kept the game close, coming back to tie the contest in the second period with two goals and then turning the momentum in their favozr. It was a much better performance than their last game, a 5-0 loss to Finland.

"We stuck to the game plan and even when we were two goals behind we fought back and we kept playing our game," Mathias Olimb said of the win. "We got our pp going and overall it was a really good game for us."

Norway enjoyed some very good chances early on. Andreas Martinsen had the best opening scoring opportunity with a shot from the top of the faceoff circle to the left of Slovak netminder Jan Laco.

With 1:57 left in the period Slovakia scored to take a 1-0 lead. Tomas Surovy was parked in front of the Norwegian net. He took a loose puck and deposited in the net past Lars Haugen. Marian Gaborik and Libor Hudacek picked up assists.

Slovakia struck again at 1:29 of the second when Marek Daloga scored. The goal came as a result of Slovakia bringing the attack to the Norwegians.

After Norway’s 5-0 loss to Finland captain Ole-Kristian Tollefsen said that what defines the Norwegian team is that they’ve been together for a long time and can push each other when they have to. It is a group that can confront each other to do and be their best.

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At the 5:40 mark of the period they dug deep. With Surovy in the penalty box, Norway cut the lead in half when Norstebo scored his first-ever senior men’s goal. Norstebo has seen his minutes and crucial ice time increase since the opening game of the round. Head coach Roy Johansen’s faith in the young man has been rewarded with some exceptional play, even in defeat.

That bit of confidence extended beyond the goal. Almost ten minutes later the improbable happened. Norway erased the two-goal deficit to tie the game. Some good corner board work saw Morten Ask free up the puck and send it in front. Mats Rosseli Olsen slipped one past at 15:30. It was a new game heading into the third.

For Rosseli Olsen it was also his first World Championship goal in 11 games. This is Rosseli Olsen’s third time representing Norway at the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.

Norway continued their momentum into the third period while Slovakia’s discipline would get them into trouble. Daloga was called for goaltender interference at 1:30 into the period. Norway’s power play took over again. Norstebo scored his second of the game at 1:56 of the third. Patrick Thoresen registered an assist as did Jonas Holos. For Holos it was his second assist of the game.

"We tried something different today on the power play and it worked out," Norstebo noted of their success with the man advantage. "That’s a good feeling for sure."

Slovakia suffered a huge loss when Andrej Meszaros was given a five-minute major for butt ending and a game misconduct. Given that Meszaros has been Slovakia’s most important player and clutch offensive asset over the past few games, missing Meszaros would be significant.

The Slovaks did manage to kill off the five minute penalty, a big development in the game. At 16:33 Daniel Sorvik was called for tripping giving Slovakia its best hope of knotting the contest. Haugen made key stops on a Michal Sersen slapshot and a Hudacek chance.

"Slovakia was close to scoring, they had that power play at the end," Norstebo said. "It’s a huge credit for our back players they did a great job in the final minutes."

After pulling their goaltender, Slovakia frantically fought to get the equalizer. The Norwegians were able to hold their ground for a very important win.

"Winning this means a lot," said Morten Ask. "After Russia and Finland we weren’t really happy. This gives us confidence but we have to stay humble out there. We can’t cheat, we have to do the dirty work."


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