Wraneschitz Makes His Presence Known, but Sweden Wins No. 54
From a 58-save night against the United States to Monday's 61-stop effort against Sweden, Sebastian Wraneschitz has been a busy man for Austria.
It's not uncommon for smaller nations to get incredible goaltending performances, but goalies can't do it alone. Sweden beat Austria 4-0 to take top spot in Group B after whipping Austria in the shot department 65-6 - with just one Austrian shot coming from within the hashmarks.
Noel Gunler had two goals for the Swedes and Theodor Niederbach and Lucas Raymond added one in the first and third periods, respectively. But the true story on the night was the play of Wraneschitz, who, despite allowing 14 goals through two games, has stood on his head with 119 saves on 133 shots through just 109 minutes of play for the newly promoted team. Wraneschitz is eligible to return for Austria next season once the potential for relegation returns, so the busy workload in the strong Group B is a good development point for the young netminder.
With the win, Sweden now has 54 consecutive wins in the round-robin dating back to 2007. The real tests begin with Russia on Wednesday and USA on Thursday, two games that should decide the winner of Group B.
The Austrians, meanwhile, have zero goals on 16 shots through two games, a tournament where they've been very outmatched as expected.
Germany Gets Retribution With Overtime Win Over Slovakia
Just two days after losing 16-2 to Team Canada, Germany fought back to defeat Slovakia 4-3 in an important game to spice up Group A.
The Slovaks' top goal was to stop Tim Stutzle, and it didn't go so well. At 5:39, the Ottawa Senators prospect tipped in a shot from Florian Elias, beating a late-reacting Simon Latkoczy to make it 1-0. Stutzle again added one in the second period to tie things up on the power play, going end-to-end before his shot was stopped, but Latkoczy deflected it off a defender and in to give Stutzle two on the night.
But in between that, the Slovaks scored a pair. First, Michal Mrazik scored shorthanded on a breakaway to make it 1-1 - but it was one the Germans disputed as it appeared as if Mrazik was offside. Oleksiy Myklukha then scored on a breakaway of his own three minutes into the second before Mrazik tipped in another goal to give Slovakia a 3-2 advantage late in the middle stanza.
With less than a minute to go in the second, Elias, one of Germany's top forwards, tied the game up once more by tipping in a shot from defenseman Simon Gnyp. That goal forced the battle into overtime, where defenseman Mario Zimmermann fired a shot from the point to win the game for Germany, giving them their first victory of the tournament.
The win was an important one in the race to make the quarter-final as Switzerland is now the only team without a point through four days of play. That makes Wednesday's bout between Germany and Switzerland even more important, as a Swiss win in regulation could knock Germany out of the top four, but a German would secure the deal for the team that's had to face so much adversity early on.
1. Sebastian Wraneschitz, G (AUT): He didn't win player of the game on Monday, but with 61 saves against one of the tournament powerhouses, Wraneschitz did everything in his power to give his team a fighting chance.
2. Tim Stutzle, C (GER): Two goals and an assist in a fantastic effort for the freshly minted Ottawa Senators forward. Set up the game-winning goal in OT after playing 3:01 of 4:01.
3. Noel Gunler, LW (SWE): Two goals, including the game-winner, in yet another strong performance for the Carolina Hurricanes prospect. Hard to stop him when he's red-hot.
Group A Standings
1. Canada, 6P (2-0-0-0)
2. Finland, 6P (2-0-0-0)
3. Slovakia, 3P (1-0-0-1)
4. Germany, 2P (0-1-0-2)
5. Switzerland 0P (0-0-0-2)
Group B Standings
1. Sweden, 6P (2-0-0-0)
2. USA, 3P (1-0-0-1)
3. Russia, 3P (1-0-0-1)
4. Czech Republic, 3P (1-0-0-1)
5. Austria, 0P (0-0-0-2)