BIETIGHEIM-BISSINGEN – The German men’s national team began its Olympic Qualification campaign with a 5-1 victory in a neighbouring clash against the Netherlands.
Alexander Barta scored two goals for Germany while Netherlands goalkeeper Ian Meierdres kept the damage low for his team with 52 saves.
“We started a little bit nervously. It was the first game and we didn’t know what to expect,” Barta said. “We are happy that we won this game. We had a good power play.”
It was the most lopsided match-up in the men’s tournaments according to the seeding. Germany is ranked 10th in the 2012 IIHF Men’s World Ranking, the Netherlands follow in 24th place and most players are considered semi-professional.
In the last game when the countries met, Germany also won 5-1 at the 2000 IIHF World Championship B-Pool.
Shots tonight were 57-10 for Germany and the home team opened the scoring at 8:30. After a drop pass from Jerome Flaake, Barta fired off a perfect shot into the top-left corner.
David Wolf, who plays in his first major tournament for the senior national team, made use of traffic in front of the Dutch net for the second goal three minutes later.
The host nation was less successful in capitalizing on its scoring chances after the first intermission, and midway through the second frame the Netherlands’ Marcel Kars scored on a rebound after a shot from Raphael Joly on the power play.
“In the first period we had to adjust our speed. Obviously it’s a bit quicker than our league,” Kars said. “The guys made a pretty good job in adjusting. We made it 2-1 and we had a lot of chances to make it 2-2, but unfortunately we didn’t and they came back to make it 3-1.”
The third German goal came with 72 seconds left in the period. Barta scored on a quick attack after a drop pass from André Rankel.
Germany controlled the game in the last period and didn’t allow the Dutch to come back. Michael Wolf deflected Barta’s shot on a power play at 7:21 and defenceman Moritz Müller made it 5-1 with his shot from the blueline on another power play with 63 second left in the game.
The Germans will continue against Italy on Friday evening. In the afternoon Austria will play the Netherlands.
“Tomorrow against Italy it will be a different game,” Barta said. “The Italians have a big heart and great character. We have to play a good game to have a chance to win this game tomorrow.”
MARTIN MERKClick here for scores, stats and photos