Sunday November 14, 2021
Decimated but dominant
DEB cracks arouse Olympic euphoria
Led by the strong ex-NHL striker Tobias Rieder, the German ice hockey team wins the Deutschland Cup. National coach Toni Söderholm now faces difficult decisions. In Krefeld there are some cracks for the Olympics and the World Cup in the coming year.
Olympia can come. By winning the Germany Cup for the first time since 2015, the national ice hockey team aroused the desire for another coup at the Winter Games in Beijing in February. On Sunday, the Olympic runner-up in 2018 and fourth in the World Cup won the traditional four-nation tournament in Krefeld with a convincing 4: 1 (2: 0, 1: 1, 1: 0) against Slovakia . For the weakened team of national coach Toni Söderholm it was the third win in the third game.
“It was a very, very nice week here. It’s always great to see how we have developed over the past few years,” said Germany Cup captain Marco Nowak from the Düsseldorfer EG. The 31-year-old doesn’t see his team as outsiders despite the NHL stars returning to the Beijing Olympics. “At the Olympics it will be an outstanding team, no matter who is there. We can celebrate success there,” said Nowak.
“Nobody played away from the Olympics”
Against the again disappointing crowd of only 2309 spectators, Leo Pföderl from the master Eisbären Berlin (1st minute), twice ex-NHL striker Tobias Rieder (6th / 56th) and Dominik Bittner (39th) from the Grizzly Wolfsburg shot the Germans Gates. Samuel Bucek (26th) scored for the former world champion. “It was really impressive how the guys worked,” said Söderholm and was delighted with the alternatives he had won for the coming year. “In any case, nobody played away from the Olympics,” said the Finn.
Söderholm had deliberately avoided a number of top performers in Krefeld and instead wanted to test potential wobbly candidates three months before the winter games and, above all, already with a view to the World Cup in May. This succeeded impressively. On every match day in Krefeld, a team put together by Söderholm impressed once again with their enormous team spirit, enthusiasm and the goal of reaching the goal. Against the Slovaks, Söderholm could even afford to spare the previously strong Munich Patrick Hager and Yasin Ehliz.
Unlike the 4: 3 against Russia on Thursday and the 3: 0 against Switzerland on Saturday, the German team was there from the start this time and looked extremely determined. After just 14 seconds, Berlin’s Pföderl took the quick lead after a great combination. For the 2018 Olympic runner-up, who should have a very good chance of participating in the Olympic Games again, it was the third tournament goal.
“The tournament went perfectly”
A little later, Rieder also scored for the third and a good four minutes before the end with a resolute solo effort for the fourth time in the third game. The 28-year-old Rieder, who is now employed by the Växjo Lakers in Sweden, is also one of the sure candidates for Beijing. “That was of course great. The tournament went perfectly. We had a lot of fun here,” said Rieder, who had not received a contract in the NHL in the summer.
Otherwise, the choice for Söderholm is tricky. Due to the return of the NHL stars to the Olympics, who were not there in Krefeld, some tickets are sure to have been awarded. In view of the major leap in performance in German ice hockey in recent years and the large number of internationally good players, there are likely to be some hardship cases. Some established national players spared for Krefeld, such as Mannheim’s Markus Eisenschmid, David Wolf or Munich’s Maximilian Kastner and Frederik Tiffels, should have a hard time slipping into the Olympic squad, also given the performance of some of the Deutschland Cup players. In Krefeld, for example, some carefree talents such as Düsseldorf’s Alexander Ehl attracted attention. Bittner, who scored 3-1 in the majority, also played a good tournament in defense.