Head coach Roger Bader’s selection went off the ice with a 1:4 (0:0,1:2,0:2) against the USA on Wednesday in Tampere. Captain Thomas Raffl scored his third goal at the World Cup in the power play (38th) to make it 1-1. 57 seconds later, the Americans presented again.
Rocco Grimaldi (28′), Carter Mazur (39′), Lane Hutson (44′) and Nick Perbix (58′) into the empty goal ensured the US team’s fourth success at this World Cup. If the Austrians, who are still holding a point, do not manage to surprise in the upcoming games against Germany on Friday (7.20 p.m.) and defending champion Finland on Saturday (3.20 p.m.), the direct duel with Hungary on Monday will be about the ticket for the 2024 World Cup in the Czech Republic .
Austria had good memories of the USA. Last year, a sensational point was scored against the favorites at the World Cup. Bader changed his lines again. Peter Schneider moved into line with Marco Rossi and Dominic Zwerger. Henrik Neubauer was back on the ice with Lukas Haudum and Manuel Ganahl. Center Oliver Achermann paused, defender David Reinbacher was still missing due to a knee injury. Veteran Bernhard Starkbaum started again in goal.
One day after Rossi’s harsh words (“That’s not acceptable”), the Austrians initially presented themselves as improved. The defensive action was more consistent, the Americans had little room to develop. The outnumbered game also worked. Rossi was sent to the penalty box twice in the first period, and the USA could not capitalize on this. Only the exploitation of chances could be further improved.
Zwerger after a solo (5th) and after an ideal pass from Schneider (16th) and Thomas Raffl (12th) failed with their degrees to US keeper Cal Petersen. In the early stages of the second period, Austria also had good chances with Zwerger – Petersen was there with his catch – and a shot deflected just wide by Ganahl. Starkbaum then increasingly took center stage. The 37-year-old could not be defeated in a counterattack in a one-on-one by Mazur.
The USA now noticeably picked up the pace and were rewarded. NHL veteran Nick Bonino (now Pittsburgh Penguins) crossed in front of goal, Grimaldi finished. Austria was hoping for the stats that showed at least one goal had been scored against the United States in every World Cup game since 1947. This should also happen in Finland. The Austrians were able to build up their first power play well, and Raffl sunk a remarkable combination via Dominique Heinrich, Rossi and Schneider into an empty goal. The joy shouldn’t last a minute. Austria did not get access to a US attack, Mazur converted completely freely in front of Starkbaum.
Goal number three for the Austrians was a nuisance. In a US transition phase, Hutson moved towards the goal. The defender, one of eight college players in the US squad, duped the red-white-red defense and defeated Starkbaum with the last of his strength through the goalie’s legs. Raffl and Co. didn’t give up, but there was no reward. Zwerger missed a penalty (52′) after Bernd Wolf was pulled off the ice alone in front of Petersen after a US blunder. The defender had to leave the ice with a knee injury. Goalie Petersen was the winner again in a private duel with Zwerger (53rd). When Starkbaum left the ice, Perbix finally made everything clear in the empty goal.