Germany has got off to a winning start at the Ice Hockey World Championship in the Czech Republic. After their last minute 2-1 victory over France, the road for Germany will only get harder.
The opening game for both Group A teams appeared to be headed for overtime when Patrick Reimer gave Germany the narrowest of victories in the last minute of the third period in Prague on Saturday. Reimer's powerplay marker made the final score 2-1 for Germany, nine minutes after Damien Fleury had evened the score for the French.
Germany's captain, Michael Wolf had given his team the 1-0 lead in the 13th minute. After the match, he conceded that it may have been a mistake not to push for more goals.
"We tried to hold on to the 1-0 lead until the end. Of course this doesn't work on the international stage," Wolf said.
The only NHL player on Germany's roster echoed that sentiment.
"It was a tough piece of work today," Arizona Coyotes forward Tobias Rieder said. "We got the lead early but then kind of sat back. We're happy we got the win at the end."
But head coach Pat Cortina appeared almost apologetic for pulling off the one-goal victory.
"France probably deserved it more than we did," Cortina said, before praising the performance of goalie Dennis Endras, who is fresh from backstopping Adler Mannheim to the title in Germany's top hockey league, the DEL.
"Dennis was outstanding today," Cortina said.
Despite this vote of confidence, Cortina did not tip his hand on whether Endras would get the start in Sunday's game, when Germany face the powerhouse that is Canada, led by Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby.
Endras said that despite the long odds against Germany in that one, he would relish the challenge.
"Everybody wants to play against them, and I would particularly like the chance to play against Sid," Endras said.
pfd/bk (SID, dpa, AP)