The US have beaten Germany 3-0 at the ice hockey World Championship. The heavy defeat was an unfortunate setback for the Germans, but hope remains that they can reach the quarterfinals.
Taking to the ice Sunday in Helsinki less than 20 hours after defeating Latvia the night before, Germany came into the match with momentum and optimism against the heavily favored US team. But two goals from Bobby Butler and Paul Stastny early in the first period made what was already a tough battle against a team consisting almost exclusively of National Hockey League players even tougher.
To make matters worse, Coach Pat Cortina had to make do without the injured Andre Rankel, Frank Mauer and Jens Baxmann.
US up early
Butler opened the scoring two minutes into the game when he followed up a shot from Justin Faulk. Three minutes later Stastny, who along with Butler played for German team EHC München during this season's NHL lockout, doubled the Americans' lead.
In addition to the pregame injuries, Germany were temporarily without Philip Gogulla after the Cologne Sharks player suffered a hit to the face that broke two teeth and left him with a deep cut. But Gogulla was patched up and eventually returned to the game.
"The teeth aren't as they should be," said the 25-year-old. "But that's part of it all, hockey is a men's sport."
Gogulla went on to be one of Germany's few dangerous players on offense along with team captain Christian Ehrhoff, but neither managed to beat 19-year-old goaltender John Gibson. A final goal from Stephen Gionta late in the third period sealed the win for the US, and it finished 3-0.
"We didn't come out of the locker room fast enough, the Americans had a super start. After that a bit of the power was missing," said Ehrhoff.
Quarterfinal chance remains
Consecutive 2-0 wins against Austria Wednesday and Latvia Saturday have given hope to German hockey fans that their team can reach the knockout stages despite picking up just one point from their first three games.
Slovakia's loss to Russia on Sunday evening means that if Germany beat France on Tuesday in their final group game and Slovakia lose to the US, the Germans would advance. Slovakia and Germany sit fourth and fifth in Group B respectively on seven points, with Slovakia leading on goal difference.
"We just have to concentrate on getting the three points," said Ehrhoff. "We can't have any influence on anything else."
The US, meanwhile, became the second team to qualify out of the group after co-hosts Finland.
dr/kms (SID, dpa)