June 20, 2024

Ice Hockey World Cup: Austria’s dream of reaching the quarter-finals is dashed

Clemens Unterweger gave the Austrians the lead, who had been the best for a long time, with strong play in the 23rd minute, but Badr’s sons retreated from the match after a poor performance. Ben O’Connor (28./PP2) and Brett Perlini (42./PP) turned the game around. Ivan Musy (51) and Robert Dodd (55/England) not only gave the British, who have been relegated since Monday, a successful finale, but also achieved their first victory over Austria in 63 years. Mario Huber’s goal that made it 2:4 (60th) was merely cosmetic.

Defeat to the British, their first since 2:10 in the second World Cup in 1961, meant Austria’s dream of reaching the quarter-finals had been shattered. Finland, which would have been ranked behind Austria had the points been tied due to the head-to-head loss, managed to play its final match against Switzerland with relative calm in the evening and accepted a 3-1 defeat there. The Olympic champion has escaped almost historic embarrassment. Since 1955, the Finns have always been in the top eight at the World Cup.

Austria misses the World Cup quarter-finals

The Austrian men’s national ice hockey team said goodbye to the Ice Hockey World Cup with a defeat. Roger Bader’s team lost to Great Britain 4-2 in Prague and thus has no chance of reaching the quarter-finals.

Austria lacks focus

Austria presented the strongest formation available against the British. Even captain Thomas Raffl did not want to miss the encounter with the possibility of reaching the quarter-finals. A back injury prevented him from playing against Norway. David Kickert was in goal for the fourth time in a World Cup. The 30-year-old, who has made just 15 appearances for Red Bull Salzburg this season, was also rewarded for his outstanding performances in the victories over Finland and Norway.

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The fact that the Austrians once again had ‘home advantage’ in their final group match was evident given their geographical proximity compared to the British. It is also clear that the red, white and red team set the tone from the beginning – although it was at a moderate pace compared to the duels against the top teams. Just 45 seconds later, Dominik Zwerger hit the side netting. Marco Rossi then failed from close range to former Graz goalkeeper Ben Bownes (4th).

Great Britain was frustrated by the relegation, but still tried to bid a dignified farewell to Prague. Kickert was forced to stay wide awake, for example when Kade Nilsson appeared in the danger zone in front of the Austria goal (7). Most of the action took place in front of Bownes, but the Austrians lacked the finishing focus that distinguished them against Finland or Norway. Pounds stayed close even on a well-placed shot from Benjamin Nisner (18th).

The British used red, white and red negligees

The Brits turned up the heat in the second third. Just a few seconds later, Brett Perlini tested to see if Kickert was back on the ice with focus. However, it seems that Austria is still on the path to success. Unterweger slid the ball over Bowns’ right pad on the power play and supposedly provided some relief (23). But Badr’s boys failed to close the bag early. A substitution foul and a foul by Paul Stubblefeldt gave Team GB an extra two men for two minutes. Despite the magic of Kickert, who cleared the ball off the goal line, the score soon became 1-1. The ÖEHV goalkeeper was helpless against O’Connor’s hammer (28th place).

Unterweger scored to make it 1-0

Clemens Unterweger briefly gave the Austrians hope of victory with his sharp shot.

As the British woke up, the Austrian game slept more and more. In addition, they acted defensively, unfocused and distant. So Dodd was as free in front of Kickert (30) as Ivan Mussi was when the Austrians waited in vain for a snow call (34). Each time Kickert kept the score level, including against Ben Davies a minute before half-time. On the other hand, Rossi scored the second goal for Austria with his bat. After exemplary preparatory work by Zwerger, Pounds (40th) was denied entry to the NHL corps.

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The game turns in the final section

In the final section, the dream of possible participation in the quarter-finals evaporated into thin air. The penalty kick against Raffl at the beginning of the third half was the beginning of the end. Perlini made it 2-1, which the British crowd celebrated (42nd). With Austrian match discipline finally over, the crowbar has replaced the direct match that had emerged against the top teams.

The British were able to focus on losses and resort to counterattacks. Ollie Bettridge had the score 3-1 on his stick, but the crossbar said no (45th). Nine minutes before the end we were finally able to breathe a sigh of relief at the Finnish team headquarters. Moussi used another marginal shot and handed the Olympic champion his quarter-final ticket on a silver platter.

Perlini turns the game on its head

The Briton was in the right place on the power play and lifted the ball home to take the lead.

The Austrian coaches tried everything again and took Kickert off the ice five minutes before the end. Because Dodd shot accurately from his own third, instead of 2:3 from Austria’s point of view, it was 4:1 for Great Britain (55). The fact that Hooper scored in the final minute was still important to the statisticians. With seven points and a 10th place finish in a historic comeback, a thrilling premiere victory and a 10th place finish, the 2024 World Cup still earns an honorary entry in the Austrian sporting history books.

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Voices about the game:

Roger Bader (Austria national team coach): “You have to say about the game that it was a deserved defeat. The British were better. You can see they don’t care about anything. They performed freely. They send two or three people to the central zone, something they would never do if it was about staying in the league. They didn’t I thought we were great in the first third, but well after we took the lead, that 3:5 score (the numerical difference, note) completely reversed the momentum of the game. If we look at the bigger picture, it was a really great World Cup.

Clemens Unterweger (Austria defender): “We played really well in the first third. We managed to make it 1-0 in the second third. The 3:5 deficit threw us off balance. After that we couldn’t get back to our game. Maybe it was a mental story. Maybe we were elated “We didn’t take advantage of the opportunity, it was bitter.”

Ice Hockey World Cup 2024 in the Czech Republic Group A in Prague


Austria – Great Britain 2:4

(0:0 1:1 1:3)

Prague, 16306

Goals: Unterweger (23 / PP), Mario Huber (60) O’Connor (28 / PP2), Perlini (42 / PP), Mossi (51), Dodd (55 / English).

Penalty minutes: 8 or 10

Austria: Kickert-Nickel, Heinrich; Wolff, Unterweger; Strong, Mayer. Brunner, Stiebelfeldt – M. Huber, Nisner, T. Rafel; Schneider, Rossi, Zwerger; Janal, Baumgartner, Hudom; Rohrer, W., and Wokovits, B. Hopper

Great Britain: Bownes – Halbert, Jones; O’Connor, Phillips. Patch Richardson. Titlow – Nelson, Perlini, Dodd; Mossy Lake Bettridge; Norris, Lachowich, Curran; Chodra, Davies, Dugan

Group A in Prague