Thanks to a goal spectacle against outsiders Italy, Germany’s national ice hockey team can plan early for the quarterfinals at the World Cup in Finland. With 9: 4 (4: 0, 2: 1, 3: 3) the selection of national coach Toni Söderholm finished on Friday in Helsinki the still winless relegation candidate Italy. Participation in the knockout round as the minimum goal for the desired reparation for the messed up Olympic appearance is therefore almost certain ahead of time. The best German World Cup preliminary round is also within reach in the two final group games.

One day after the fuss about the fire in the hall before the 1-0 win against Denmark, the fourth in the World Cup and tenth in the Olympics left no doubts about the fourth preliminary round win in a row in front of 3311 spectators. The World Cup debutants Alexander Karachun (5th/43rd minute) and Kai Wissmann (7th) as well as Yasin Ehliz (14th/42nd), Daniel Fischbuch (18th/35th), the AHL striker Lukas Reichel who traveled later his tournament premiere (26th) and Samuel Soramies (58th) were successful. For the world number 16. met Tommaso Traversa (26′), Luca Frigo (48′), Daniel Mantenuto (50′) and Alex Petan (60′). NHL forward Tim Stützle was still injured.

“We also showed mental maturity,” Söderholm praised his team at “Sport1” and said, looking at the four goals conceded: “That’s whining at a high level.” In the first two thirds, the team acted responsibly and also a certain looseness brought to the ice. The national coach didn’t want to say anything about the possible quarter-finals: “I’m not a table person at this stage of the tournament.”

With the overwhelming victory, the team of the German Ice Hockey Federation also reminded of the goal spectacle of 2021: In Riga, the 9: 4 against the Italians, who were weakened by corona at the time, led to the highest World Cup victory to date against the outsider and paved the way to the semifinals.

If France lose to Denmark on Saturday, they will be in the quarter-finals. In the final group games against Kazakhstan on Sunday and against Switzerland on Tuesday, it’s all about using an advantageous starting position to avoid the supposedly most difficult quarter-final opponents.

With another win, the best preliminary round of a German team at a World Cup would be set. In 2019 there were five successes and 15 points in seven games. The World Cup three years ago in Slovakia was a successful premiere under Söderholm. He is now particularly motivated for the World Cup in his home country of Finland.

Things went well for his squad against Italy from the start. After five minutes, Schwenningen striker Karachun surprised goalkeeper Davide Fadani with a shot from the turn. 76 seconds later, Berlin defender Wissmann acted like a goalscorer against the slacking Italian defence. When Ehliz had increased to 3:0, the Italians changed the goalkeeper and Justin Fazio came.

When Fischbuch scored a majority hit, Reichel immediately collected his first scorer point at this World Cup. In the middle section, the 20-year-old from the second-rate North American AHL proved that he is an asset to the team with his first goal and the next assist for Fischbuch. “I want to bring energy into the ice, move my legs and play the way I usually play, so that the others see: Yes, the little one who runs and wants to,” announced the youngest player in the World Cup squad in the morning.

Söderholm described Reichel as a “trump card”, having made his NHL debut for the Chicago Blackhawks in his first North American season. AHL defenseman Leon Gawanke also showed that he is a reinforcement with his presence and his build-up passes. Both only arrived on Thursday.

The German ice hockey cracks prevailed against Slovakia, France and Denmark by a goal difference and made it exciting until the end. This time the game was decided early. In the final third, Ehliz and Karachun followed up with their second goal each.