GOTHENBURG, Sweden — In the most surprising result of the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship to date, Germany defeated Finland 4-3 in the qualifying round. Although Germany had lost each of their previous 25 meetings at this tournament, it was the first time Germany had defeated Finland at the world juniors.
The upset came on the heels of Finland’s loss to Canada on the first day of the tournament. They currently sit at the bottom of Group A at 0-0-0-2.
Germany was led by goalkeeper Philipp Dietl, who played perhaps the best game of his life, stopping 40 of 43 shots, including 17 during a tense third period. .
In fact, the Germans controlled play for much of the first period, holding a 13-6 shot advantage in the first period, but the score was tied at 1-1 after the first 20 minutes. became.
In the second period, Finland took the initiative, but could not maintain it, as the German counterattack proved to be powerful. After Kasper Haltunen (SJS) scored a beautiful shot early in the second goal, Germany responded less than a minute later with a goal off a rush from Niklas Hübner, quickly tying the game again.
It looked like Finland could regain the upper hand when Sam Baugh (ARI) scored on a slightly broken play in which the puck was deflected past Dietl. But Germany was able to answer it and never turned back.
First, Roman Koechter slotted the puck inside the near post, past Niklas Kokko (SEA) and scored. Then it was Oswald’s turn to score a big goal.
Oswald surged onto the ice and took advantage of the Finnish defenseman’s fall to fire a nearside shot past Kokko, exciting the German bench. His two strikes were separated by 1 minute and 31 seconds.
— FloHockey (@FloHockey) December 27, 2023
The third period, however, was a different story. Finland possessed the puck and dominated the German zone. Despite this, Dietl deflected shot after shot. With each save, Finland’s frustration began to show. However, it did not lead to a goal.
The final score was Germany 4, Finland 3, marking a historic moment for German hockey, which is in the midst of a renaissance due to increased NHL talent and international success.
They are tied with Canada and Sweden at the top of Group A with three points after a regulation win. Germany’s next opponent was host Sweden, who defeated Latvia 6-0 on the first day of the tournament.