After two German leads, Canada comes back: Samuel Blais scores the 3-2 lead for the Canadians. © Pavel Golovkin/AP
The final was open until the final third, but in the end record world champions Canada were too strong. With silver, however, the first tournament under national ice hockey coach Harold Kreis is a huge success.
Tampere - John-Jason Peterka cried bitter tears of disappointment after missing out on World Championship gold, the ripped-off record world champion cheered freely. Canada's NHL stars looked beatable, but Germany's ice hockey cracks lost the first World Cup final since 1930 against Canada in Tampere only in the end clearly with 2:5 (1:1, 1:1, 0:3).
As vice world champions, however, the selection of national coach Harold Kreis achieved another ice hockey milestone and once again played its way into the hearts of the fans after Olympic silver in 2018 and the World Cup semi-finals in 2021.
"At first, of course, disappointment prevails. We had a great opportunity here," captain Moritz Müller told Sport1 after former DEB president Franz Reindl presented the silver medal to the German players at the award ceremony. In view of the immense success, however, the Cologne defender made it clear: "I think we have achieved incredible things."
Will, passion and goals from NHL forwards Peterka (8th minute) and Daniel Fischbuch (34th) were not enough for the first World Cup title in the end. Kreis's team was better in the final for a long time, but at least travels home early on Whit Monday with silver as the first World Championship medal in 70 years, because Canada was more uncompromising in the end. "Of course I'm very, very proud of the team. We have gained something and not lost something," said a touched circle. Via Instagram, his predecessor Toni Söderholm immediately sent his congratulations on the runner-up world championship title.
"The Canadians took advantage of our small mistakes. But that shouldn't detract from our performance. We played an amazing tournament," said goalkeeper Mathias Niederberger, but also admitted: "The pain runs deep. There was just more to it."
First World Championship medal in 70 years
The last time there had been silver was in 1953, but at that time only four nations had played a group stage. Canada's NHL stars secured the World Championship title for the 28th time with the success against the selection of the German Ice Hockey Federation and are now the sole record champions again ahead of the currently excluded Russians. For German ice hockey, second place at the World Championships is the biggest success after Olympic silver in 2018.
National coach Kreis, as Söderholm's successor, crowned his debut as head coach. The 64-year-old Canadian-born coach had already been there as assistant coach to Uwe Krupp when Germany reached the semi-finals in 2010. Although 15 top performers were injured and top NHL players Leon Draisaitl, Tim Stützle and Philipp Grubauer, among others, had cancelled, the veteran coach formed a sworn unit that was convincing in terms of combativeness and playfulness.
Only praise for the coach
"Everyone really, really likes to play for Harry. He's just a great person with a great charisma and a great character," praised Frederik Tiffels of German champions EHC Red Bull Munich, who fired Germany into the final with his overtime goal in Saturday's famous 4-3 extra-time win over the USA.
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This already exceeded the DEB's targets - quarter-finals and direct Olympic qualification for Milan 2026. With its triumphal march in Finland and Latvia, the DEB selection also thrilled the public at home. Among others, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) had sent their congratulations to the German team before the final. "I'm keeping my fingers crossed that you will shake the ice in #Tampere today and win the title," Baerbock tweeted a few hours before the game.
However, it was not enough for the big hit. The German team got off to a spirited start, did more for the game than the passive Canadians and took the lead after a beautiful shot from Germany's World Cup top scorer Peterka on a dream pass from Moritz Seider. With luck, the big favorite equalized. When Samuel Blais equalized (11th), a deflected puck made the action dangerous at all.
John-Jason Peterka (M) celebrates his opening goal to make it 1-0 with his teammates. © Pavel Golovkin/AP/dpa
The Canadians looked beatable, the German team got better and deservedly took the lead again through the Düsseldorf fish book. This lead did not hold either, because the referees did not punish a clear foul by Canada before Lawson Crouse (38th/Arizona) equalized again. An unfortunate further goal conceded after his own defensive error by Blais (45th) paved the way for the favourites to success. Tyler Toffoli (52nd) of the Calgary Flames made the decision. Scott Laughton of the Philadelphia Flyers scored the final score into the orphaned goal (59th).
In 2027, the home World Cup awaits
Nevertheless, Germany seems to have firmly established itself among the top nations. "We played great hockey throughout the tournament. We've shown that we can not only fight against the big boys, but also play with them," captain Moritz Müller told MagentaSport. The ambitious goal of ex-DEB President Franz Reindl to be able to compete regularly for medals at major tournaments until 2026 was fulfilled earlier than expected and hoped. "Since 2018, everyone has been used to this very high level from the Germans," said World Federation President Luc Tardif on the final weekend in Tampere.
Canada's Cody Glass (M) has to hold his own against Marcel Noebels on the ice. © Pavel Golovkin/AP/dpa
As always after an unexpected success like now, the question now arises as to how sustainably German ice hockey can use the momentum. The bid for the 2027 home World Cup last Friday could help if the DEB quickly creates concepts for young people and awareness in society. "I believe that we can always ignite something," said captain Müller, who had already won Olympic silver in 2018, about the successes of the national team. Dpa