Despite holding a two-goal advantage as the halfway mark of the contest approached, a questionable decision to change goaltenders and a string of undisciplined penalties conspired to undo the host nation as always proud Canada rallied to register a 4-2 triumph over Germany on the final day of the 2014 Deutschland Cup international tournament in Munich.
Even though the players representing nine-time Olympic gold medalist Canada at the Olymia-Eisstadion in Bavaria are certainly not the very best that the North American country actually has to offer, one still could have easily surmised that, after consecutive losses to Slovakia and Switzerland at this 2014 Deutschland Cup, national pride and professional experience would see to it that this particular team under the direction of Eisbaeren Berlin trainer Jeff Tomlinson were always going to be extremely difficult to beat on the third and final day of the competition.
Canada had much better of the play for the first eight minutes or so but found Germany netminder Dennis Endras of Adler Mannheim, the somewhat smallish shot-stopper who was named the Best Goaltender at the 2010 IIHF World Championships but has been out of favor for the past couple of seasons, to be in top notch form. Buoyed by reliable play between the pipes, the Germans skated the lead a little over thirteen minutes in when a long wrist shot from defenseman Denis Reul, the 25-year-old Adler Mannheimer who was the fifth round choice (# 130 overall) of the Boston Bruins at the 2007 National Hockey League Draft, eluded veteran Canada goaltender Chris Mason of German elite league club Augsburg Panthers, the 38-year-old with 317 games worth of NHL experience on his resume. In front of the net to provide a critical screen was Germany center Kai Hospelt of Adler Mannheim, the 29-year-old Olympic veteran who was the seventh round selection (# 216 overall) of the San Jose Sharks at the 2003 NHL Draft and has appeared at six major international tournaments (40 ga, 4 go, 16 pts) in his career.
It was the first international goal ever scored by Reul, who has represented Germany at the IIHF World Championships three times (14 ga, 0 go, 0 pts) in his career already.
Germany goaltender Dennis Endras (44), the experienced national team veteran who has played 20 games (2.78 avg, .906 svpct) at the annual IIHF World Championships over the course of his career, smothers the puck during the game against traditional international powerhouse Canada on the final day of competition at the 2014 Deutschland Cup in Munich.
As the first intermission neared, the Canadians found themselves with two players sitting in the penalty box and the host nation was effectively able to capitalize. Germany captain Michael Wolf of hometown EHC Red Bull Munich, the 33-year-old Olympic veteran who has skated at seven major international tournaments (45 ga, 11 go, 21 pts) during his tenure, started the movement by passing the puck to Patrick Hager of ERC Ingolstadt behind the net. Then, the 26-year-old left wing quickly stepped out in front and stuffed a backhander past the Canadian custodian Mason to give Deutschland a 2-0 lead with a little more than two and a half minutes left in the first period.
The first half of the second period was far more even than the opening session had been but the Germans certainly did need a few more fine saves from Endras, the 29-year-old who, in late December of 2012, had an excellent outing when Adler Mannheim upended Canada 2-1 at the annual Spengler Cup holiday tournament held in Davos, Switzlerand. Then, perhaps because the host had already clinched this 2014 Deutschland Cup title by winning its first two games against Switzerland and Slovakia, Germany national team trainer Pat Cortina decided to rotate his goaltenders. It was a curious move more commonly associated with a Testspiel (an exhibition contest) as compared to a tournament game.
And so, at the 29:30 mark of the contest, off the bench ice cold and with one rather short stoppage of play to get ‘ready’ came Timo Pielmeier of ERC Ingolstadt, the 25-year-old who had one rather dreadful appearance (7.50 avg, .583 svpct) for the Anaheim Ducks during the 2010/11 NHL season in three years of North American professional hockey; Pielmeier, who had performed admirably in Germany’s 2-1 victory over Slovakia the day before, was making just his fourth-ever appearance in the national team colors.
Faced with the prospect of losing all three games at this 2014 Deutschland Cup and now having seen the backup goaltender sent out onto the ice, the prideful Canadians obviously concluded that they needed to step up their game immediately. Barely six minutes had come off the scoreboard clock since the arrival of Pielmeier when Canada sped down the right flank in the German zone on two-on-one break. Bud Holloway of Swiss Nationalliga A side SC Bern, the 26-year-old winger who was the third round pick (# 86 overall) of the Los Angeles Kings at the 2006 NHL Draft, squared the puck beautifully into the path of charging Hamburg Freezers right wing Kevin Clark, the 26-year-old out of the University of Alaska – Anchorage who currently leads the Deutsche Eishockey League with 13 goals in 16 games this season after notching 30 goals and 68 points in 51 D.E.L. games for Krefeld Pinguine last term.
With time in the second period almost expired, inexperienced Germany defenseman Florian Kettemer of EHC Red Bull Munich, the 28-year-old former Adler Mannheim blueliner who has never appeared at a major internatonal tournament, was escorted to the penalty box and the Canadians took their chance rather well immediately. Highly experienced Canada captain Steven Reinprecht of Nuremberg Ice Tigers, the aging 38-year-old former Wisconsin Badgers center who skated in 596 NHL games and won the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 2001 before winning a gold medal for his country at the 2003 IIHF World Championships, sent a picturesque cross-ice pass from the bottom of the right faceoff circle over to Holloway in the left faceoff circle. The former Los Angeles farmhand who has spent the past three winters with AIK Skelleftea in the Swedish elite league after totaling 28 goals and 61 points in 78 games for the Manchester Monarchs during the 2010/11 American Hockey League campaign had no trouble hitting the back of the virtually wide-open net.
The Canadians had obviously gained momentum from its strong finish to the middle frame but, at the outset of the final period, the Germans made it clear they were not enamored with the idea of a loss in their final tournament game and remained on even footing for the first thirteen minutes or so. Germany were spending too much time in the sin bin, however, and the visit by Kettemer that gave Canada its second power play opportunity of the game proved to be costly. This because the influential Reinprecht, who was loaned to Adler Mannheim for the remainder of the season by the NHL’s Florida Panthers in January of 2011, blasted his one-time shot from between the top of the two faceoff circles past the German goaltender Pielmeier to give the Canadians their very first lead of the game at the 53:52 mark.
The Germans made an effort to get back on level terms but Mason, the experienced veteran who has been to the annual IIHF World Championships with the national team of Canada four times (11 ga) in his productive career which includes both a gold medal (2007) and a silver medal (2009) won at the annual IIHF affair. Mason had been a hard luck loser for Canada after being lifted in favor of a sixth attacker at the end of the previous day’s clash with Switzerland, it should be remembered. Brandon Buck, the 26-year-old center who to transferred to German D.E.L. club ERC Ingolstadt from Swiss second division side HC Basel this past summer, put matters to rest soon enough for Canada by scoring an empty net goal.
November 9, 2014
Olympia-Eisstadion … Munich, Germany
Attendance : 6,000
Canada 4 – Germany 2
13:12 … GER – Reul (Oppenheimer, Hospelt)
17:19 … GER – Hager (Wolf, Hoerdler) – ppg
35:22 … CAN – Clark (Holloway)
38:53 … CAN – Holloway (Reinprecht, Regehr) – ppg
53:51 … CAN – Reinprecht (Pettinger) – ppg
59:05 … CAN – Buck (Clark) – eng
penalty minutes : GER 14 – CAN 10
Germany : Endras (Pielmeier 29:30) – Hoerdler, Ankert ; Reul, Kettemer ; Krueger, Akdag ; Wurm, Krupp – Gogulla, Ullmann, Reimer ; Pietta, Hospelt, Oppenheimer ; Hager, Plachta, Wolf ; Noebels, Seidenberg, Kink
Canada : Mason – DuPont, Pettinger ; Raymond, Regehr ; Festerling, Roy – Aulin, Ca. Abbott, Ch. Abbott ; Hamill, Dixon, Reddox ; Holloway, Buck, Clark ; James, Reinprecht, Greentree