Germany pushes to playoffs with win 
by Andrew PODNIEKS|17 MAY 2024
photo: © International Ice Hockey Federation / Matt Zambonin
Germany struck for two quick goals to start the game against Kazakhstan and pressed on for an impressive 8-2 victory this afternoon in Ostrava. The win gives the Germans a 3-2 record and nine points, good enough for second place in Group B right now.

The loss drops the Kazakhs to 1-4 and keeps them in 7th place. They have two games remaining against the United States and Poland, the latter now almost certainly to determine which of the two stays up and gets demoted.

"We're happy with today's game," offered Germany's captain Moritz Muller. "We had a rough patch against the U.S. and Sweden, and we knew we had to come up with a better game. Overall, we're playing better. We were up, but then changed our play and gave Kazakhstan some momentum, but we were able to stop that. This team has a lot of offensive qualities and talent. On the flip side, we need to play good defence for 60 minutes. We're good enough to create opportunities that we don't have to force it."

"We’re frustrated," admitted Kazakh defender Tamirlan Gaitamirov. "It’s our fourth loss in a row. We had a really bad start in the first period. We can’t be playing like this. We need wins. We have to come out better. Defensively, we need to play with a little more patience. Then maybe we need to score on more of our chances. We need to have a bit higher quality scoring and more patience in defensive zone."

Germany opened the scoring at 1:02 on a lucky play. Maksymilian Szuber tried to get the puck in front of the Kazakh goal, and the puck went off the skate of defender Leonid Metalnikov and past a helpless Andrey Shutov. 

Just 82 seconds later they made it 2-0 when Parker Tuomie beat Shutov from the slot. But rather than signal defeat, the Kazakhs slowly worked their way into the game and played with greater urgency. They got one goal back on the power play, Yevgeniy Rymarev making a nice pass behind the flow to captain Roman Starchenko. He snapped it into the open side at 7:59 and giving his team a sense of confidence after the shaky start.
Although the Kazakhs made a game of it as the first period wore on, it was all Germany in the second. They scored the only three goals (and had a fourth nullified by coach’s challenge—offside) and had the better of play from start to finish. 

Peterka made it 3-1 at 1:11 on a nice solo rush, and that spelled the end for Shutov, who was replaced by Nikita Boyarkin. The Germans added to their tally seven minutes later off a turnover. Madi Dikhanbek lost the puck in his own end, and Lukas Reichel finished things off with a bullet shot over Boyarkin’s shoulder. 

Peterka had a hand in the 5-1 goal as well, setting up Lukas Kalble nicely to the back side of play and putting the game out of reach. In the third, Peterka added another helper off the rush, this time finding Reichel back door for the easy tap-in goal.

The Kazakhs got one of their own midway through the period when Artyom Korolyov's long shot beat Grubauer high. Referees waived the goal off for goalie interference, but Kazakh coach Galym Mambetaliev went to his coach's challenge again and was right a second time. 

Frederik Tiffles added another goal three minutes later short-handed, taking a nice feed from Nico Sturm and roofing a backhand over Boyarkin.

Germmany's quest to repeat last year's gold-medal-game appearance continues, and today was a solid step forward.

"We discussed internally what is our goal, and how we handle outside expectations," Muller said. "The final game is something we achieved last year, and we shouldn't be ashamed of it. It was a special year last year, and we will do everything in our power to be as good as possible this year. Being in the moment is the best we can do, I think."