Germany have taken a huge step toward quarterfinal qualification with a 3-2 win over the United States. The deciding goal came just before the final buzzer in one of the thrillers of the tournament thus far.
Germany went into the Group B clash in St. Petersburg as the underdogs, but jumped all over their opponents early in the first period. Patrick Hager put the Germans in front on a power play after only three minutes when he bundled the puck over the line.
It was a physical game, with the Germans giving as good as they got. Team USA knotted the score with a Jake McCabe goal in minute 11, but two-and-a-half minutes later Christian Ehrhoff restored Germany's advantage with a wicked shot from the blue line.
Auston Matthews equalized again for the US only 26 seconds into the second period, and Germany made life difficult for themselves by picking up three 2-minute penalties. But the Americans were unable to exploit their power-play opportunities.
Coach Marco Sturm's men showed more discipline in the third period, but the two teams basically neutralized one another. The game looked headed for an extra period. But on 59:27 NHL defender Korbinian Holzer beat keeper Mike Condon to seal the 3-2 upset.
"I couldn't see whether it went in," Holzer said afterward. "When the referee signaled that it was a goal and my teammates started celebrating, the emotion just overflowed."
It was only the eighth win for Germany in 41 world championship games against Team USA.
The win moved Germany up to third in the table ahead of their final Group B match against strugglers Hungary on Monday. The only way Germany could fail to qualify for the knock-out stages would be if France were to beat juggernauts and defending champions Canada - a very unlikely scenario.