Norwegian hockey sensation
For the first time in the history, Norway won against the Czech Republic in a World Cup match.
Czech Republic-Norway 2-3
What a lovely bunch of hockey Norway had in this World Cup. Led by a super Pål Grotnes in goal with disciplined checking showed Roy Johansen’s crew that Denmark was not the only one that could shock in this year’s World Cup.
The circuit’s best in goal
We already mentioned Pål Grotnes, who naturally was named man of the match, but there were very many of the Norwegian players who impressed greatly. This time it was not only the first line with Zuccarello Aasen, Thoresen and Fuller who created something ahead. The other ranks produced great opportunities.
Norway had never beaten the Czech Republic or Czechoslovakia before the match. Twice before in 1994 and 1996, Norway had the positive statistics against the great hockey nation. Beforehand, it was not very much to indicate that Roy Johansen’s crew to do it this time either. Czechs did rather short work of France (6-2) in his opening match in World Cup, while Norway fell apart in the final period and lost to Sweden 2-5.
Has no respect
But even if the Norwegian team has been reduced in relation to the Olympic team, playing it with no respect for the supposed better teams. To be sure, it opened with a bunch of Czech shots, and the Norwegian backs were spun around and around. But in the end Pål Grotnes kept them quiet in an admirable manner.
Initially helpless, the Norwegian team managed to fight their way into the match. The defense game was suddenly much better, and dared the players to come more and more. Like when Patrick Thoresen gave an amazing show to Mats Zuccarello Aasen after about 12 minutes of play. The shot, for the future New York Rangers player, was from the very top line: hard and well!
Shot statistics in the first period were 15-5 in favor of the Czechs, but in goal production stood 0-1.
Struggling with credit
The Czechs continued to have the puck often beyond the middle period, but they needed a two man advantage on the ice before they finally managed to get the puck past Pål Grotnes. Jaromir Jagr fired on a goal keeper who never saw the puck until he heard it behind him.
The point made fortunately no turbulence in the Norwegian ranks, all continued to work really hard. The reward came almost immediately. Lars Løkken Østli shot and Anders Fredriksen controlled the puck. What a comeback the VIF player has had on the team! Against Sweden he had two assists, against the Czech Republic he finally scored as well.
The shot statistics was superior in the first period, dominated by the Czech Republic even more in the second. But 17-3 in the shot does not give an accurate picture of the number of chances. Among other things had Patrick Thoresen had a tremendous opportunity in which the Czechs had to use illegal means to stop him, but without the judges putting the opponents out. Strange.
Contrast the scored
But Norway had increased the lead just four minutes into the final period. A wonderful game ended with Anders Bastiansen who left alone and Färjestadproffen instantly sent the puck in the corner of the net.
The superstar Jagr reduced to 2-3, this time also in the Czech majority play.
Czech Republic was naturally great chances towards the end especially after Juha Kaunismäki were expelled with just under three minutes left.