Germans win 3-0, avoid elimination for now

Germans win 3-0, avoid elimination for now

30 Dec 2013 | Derek O’Brien

Germany entered their last game of Group A against the Czech Republic with their backs to the wall. They needed their best performance of the tournament so far and they got it -- Frederik Tiffels led the offence with 2 goals and 1 assist and Marvin Cüpper stopped all 40 shots he faced in a 3-0 victory.


Marvin Cüpper was shelled in each of his first two appearances in this tournament -- seven goals against Canada and he didn't make it to the end of the second period against Slovakia. Nobody needed to tell him that it wouldn't be good enough this time.

"I knew I had to play better and I knew I could. I was confident at the start as it went on, the feeling grew," he said. Regarding the play of the team in front of him, he said: "We had to play as a team today and that's what we did. There were a lot of shots (40) but the team did well to make it easier for me to see, especially when (the Czechs) were really pressing hard."

The Czechs pressed hard enough to get 40 shots, but didn't play with enough urgency at the start. The Germans outshot them 13-8 in the first period and got the only goal on a hard-working play in front of the net.

"We had a good shift in the zone and the puck came back to (Dominik) Kahun and he shot it. The goalie stopped it and I put in the rebound," said Frederik Tiffels, who was in on all three of Germany's goals.

"We didn't play well enough at the start," admitted Czech defenceman and captain Petr Šidlík, who further commented: "Maybe we thought it was going to be easy, but as you can see, it wasn't."

The Czechs started to come on in the second period, and Cüpper was holding them off. It looked like if they had managed to get a goal at that point, the dam might have broken. Instead, it was the Germans scored against the flow of play.

With under five minutes to play in the period, Czech goalie Marek Langhamer went behind the net to play the puck, but didn't get it as far as he would have liked. It went into the corner, where a battle ensued.

"I was forechecking in the corner and I managed to get it out in front and Kahun was there," said Tiffels, who assisted on the second German goal and then scored the third late in the middle period, giving his team a 3-0 stranglehold. "We knew, though, that they're a great team and can score three goals quickly. It wasn't until about five minutes left that I started thinking we would win."

Before it reached that time, the Czechs barraged the German net. They fired 19 shots on Cüpper in the third period -- eight of which came from Šidlík, but it wasn't enough.

"We didn't score -- that was the problem," said the clearly frustrated Czech captain. "We needed to get more traffic in front of the net. We had a lot of shots but we needed to make it more difficult for the goalie to see. 

Both teams were missing key players due to suspension -- Czech defenceman Michal Plutnar was sitting for shoving a linesman on Saturday against Canada, while German captain Leon Draisaitl was out for a check from behind against the United States on Sunday. 

"Leon is our leader and a great player. It's tough to lose him but we had a meeting about it and just said we've got to come together and play as a team, and we did." said Tiffels.

"Of course we missed (Plutnar)," said Šidlík. "Maybe if he's in there and gets a goal on the power play, everything turns out different. But he was suspended and there's nothing we can do about that. We've just got to be better tomorrow."

Tomorrow's game becomes all important now. The Czechs could have punched their ticket to the quarterfinals with a point against Germany, but now will be battling against their neighbours from Slovakia to avoid the relegation round.

For Germany, the win isn't enough to guarantee them a spot in the quarterfinals, but a loss would have surely sent them to the relegation round. So, for today, they did all they could.

"Of course we'll be watching tomorrow and we hope the lose again," said Tiffels. "But we only had control over today's game. We had to win and we did, so whatever happens tomorrow, we're happy with that."

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