h National teams

The Austrians celebrated against Norway. © APA/afp / MICHAL CIZEK

Austria's ice hockey miracle: Quarterfinals within reach

Austria's national team confidently took advantage of their first chance and managed to avoid relegation early at the Ice Hockey World Championships in Prague. Now Roger Bader's team can dream of even more.

The ÖEHV selection defeated Norway 4:1 (0:0,3:0,1:1) on Sunday and got the ticket for the 2025 World Cup in Sweden and Denmark. Peter Schneider (29th/PP, 34th) and Dominic Zwerger (29th) made the decision in the middle third after preparatory work by Marco Rossi. Now even the quarter-finals are possible.

Austria can go into the final group game without pressure for the first time since 2018 and with another win against Great Britain on Tuesday (12.20 p.m.) they would finish the World Cup in the top ten for the first time in 21 years. There is even a chance of reaching the quarterfinals. Like Finland, Austria has seven points and, if tied, is ahead of the Olympic champions, who still face Denmark and Switzerland.

Team boss Roger Bader had to do without his ailing captain Thomas Raffl, Ali Wukovits moved into the first line as a wing with his Salzburg teammates Benjamin Nissner and Mario Huber. David Kickert was preferred in goal and did a very good job again.

Peter Schneider scored a brace. © APA/afp / MICHAL CIZEK

In the game that was so important for both teams, caution was initially advised. In the first third, both sides hardly allowed their opponents any chances. The game broke up in the third red-white-red power play.

Schneider took the lead with a slap shot (29th). Just 40 seconds later, an energetic push from Zwerger, whose attempted pass was deflected into his own goal by a Norwegian, made it 2-0 (29'). With his fifth goal of the tournament, Schneider (34th) finally created a great atmosphere among the thousands of red-white-red fans in the O16.500 Arena, which was well filled with over 2 spectators.

Mario Huber (left) and Dominic Zwerger (middle) each scored one goal. © APA/afp / MICHAL CIZEK

With a strong penalty kill in a two-man minority (39th/40th), the Austrians defused the Norwegians' possibility of perhaps coming back after all. Afterwards they missed some good counterattack chances, Steven Strong only hit the bar (49th). Sander Engebraten once again created excitement in the finish with his goal to make it 1:3 (54th). Mario Huber ended this with a shot into the empty goal (58th). This marked the first World Cup victory against the Norwegians in 25 years, which was celebrated with a standing ovation in the stands.

Canada defeats the Swiss

In the evening game of Group A, the top-class teams Canada and Switzerland met. In a hard-fought game, the North Americans ultimately prevailed 3-2. Dylan Cozens scored a brace for his team, while Nick Paul scored the decisive goal to make it 3-2. Kevin Fiala and Romain Töpfer were successful for the Swiss, while Sven Andrighetto unfortunately missed a penalty shot in the third. This put the Canadians at the top of Group A.

The Group A table

8.Great Britain50

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