Wednesday, 30 December 2020

I Owe Them An Apology

I'm on record right now with a heartfelt apology for the Germans. I had written them off after all their COVID-19 problems before the tournament started, but count me in as a fan of these kids who just won't stop and seem to loving having fun while doing it. I didn't know if they had the depth to replace key players who missed the tournament, but not only did they have players waiting in the wings but those players have stepped up admirably and effectively in helping the Germans secure a spot in the medal round after today's results.

Germany, I apologize. You absolutely deserve to be playing for a medal.

After stunning the Slovaks in overtime one night earlier, the Germans came out today and beat the Swiss to finish in third-place in Group A despite having played half the tournament with just 14 skaters. It got a little tense when the Germans, who led 4-0 at one point, allowed the Swiss to chip away at that lead, but the final horn sounded with the Germans ahead 5-4 and taking the three points necessary to prevent the Slovaks from catching them.

Heiliger Bimbam!

Tim Stützle has been otherworldly in his efforts to will this German team into the medal round, and the contributions from linemates JJ Peterka and Florian Elias have carried the Germans past the Slovaks and Swiss to a more favourable matchup from Group B. It will unfortunately appear to be the Americans, but this a huge success for the Germans considering all the adversity they faced.

The loss by the Swiss tonight puts them in the relegation series against Austria. Despite there being no relegation this year, one has to be concerned about the direction the Swiss team has taken in recent years. As stated yesterday, the Swiss seem to be stuck in neutral when it comes to seeing them take steps on the international stage, and one has to wonder how the U20 program in Switzerland can find its way back to being one of this tournament's promising teams.

There's no doubt that the Germans will celebrate their achievement, but I doubt they're content with just making the medal round. I'm not counting them out against, potentially, the Americans who have had problems defending their own zone, and that's trouble when Stützle and Peterka are flying around the ice. If the Germans can get some above-average goaltending from Florian Bugl in that game, we might see Germany in the semi-final which would do wonders for their programs just as the 2018 Olympics did.

Enjoy the moment, Germany. You earned it, you certainly deserve it, I salute you, and I apologize for my lack of faith!

While the next test will be your stiffest yet, I suspect you'll find a lot of people cheering for you in the quarterfinal. I'll be one of them as I am officially joining the Germany Fan Club! Los geht's, Deutscheland!

Until next time, halte deine Stöcke auf dem Eis!

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