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IIHF – Austrian push falls just short

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Andre Tourigny was seen shaking his head in disbelief. Or maybe it was shock. Likely, a combination of the two.

Moments earlier, Tourigny – the Canadian head coach – watched Austria’s Marco Rossi lift a backhander over Canada’s goaltender Jordan Binnington that tied the game 6-6. Rossi’s goal was Austria’s fifth of the third period as the team overcame a 6-1 deficit to force overtime at the 2024 IIHF World Championship.

Just 15 seconds into overtime, though, Canadian captain John Tavares walked in and snapped a shot past Austrian goaltender David Madlener, which avoided this result becoming the largest comeback ever (although it will go down as the largest blown lead in tournament history).
 

“It’s a good lesson,” said Tavares. “This definitely grabs our attention, just how we have to stay with our game, continue to build our identity and how you have to manage the swings of emotion. Teams build momentum, they get chances, they build excitement and we have to withstand that and play through it.”

After being outshot 35-12 and outscored 6-1 over the first two periods, the Austrians could have folded up and rested their bodies for their next game on Thursday against Finland. Instead, the Austrians took advantage of numerous Canadian turnovers and defensive breakdowns to chip away at the lead in the third, concluding with Rossi’s beauty with 49 seconds to play.

The goal-scoring brigade started early in the frame on a 2-on-1, as Peter Schneider fed Benjamin Baumgartner, who displayed nice finish with a shot over a sprawling Binnington to make it 6-2. The Austrians got another one moments later when Schneider went top shelf to finish a nice play set up by Dominic Zerger and Bernd Wolf. The score was 6-3 with 15 minutes still to play.

With just under 10 minutes left, Zwerger rushed the puck into the Canadian zone and unloaded a slap shot that beat Binnington on the blocker side to make it 6-4. Schneider got his second of the game with four minutes to play to make it 6-5.

“We know they have a world class team on the other side,” said Schneider. “We just tried to do our best, we tried to work hard. We built some momentum in the third and we came close as a group and the pucks went in. I’m really happy for the guys, I’m really proud. It’s too bad we couldn’t win this game.”

This game appeared well in control for Canada, which scored three goals in each of the first two periods by six different skaters.

Dylan Cozens started the scoring when he pounced on a loose puck in the slot and fired it past Madlener at 6:34. Less than three minutes later, Tavares was parked right by the Austrian net and made a nice pass to Kaiden Guhle inside the faceoff circle to Austrian goaltender David Madlener’s right, with Guhle one-timing the puck in for his first goal and second point of the period.

Austria quickly answered back, when Mario Huber was denied twice by Jordan Binnington before Benjamin Nissner finished the job to make it 2-1.

Bowen Byram restored Canada’s two-goal lead at 13:29 when he took a shot from the point that appeared to be going wide but hit Austrian forward Paul Huber and went directly into the net. Olen Zellweger got an assist on the goal, his fourth of the tournament. Canada outshot Austria 13-6 in the first.

In the second, Jared McCann scored to make it 4-1 at 2:57 when he deked goaltender Madlener and then, just as it appeared he would have to take the puck around the back of the net, made a quick move from backhand to forehand to stuff the puck in.

Connor Bedard got his fifth of the tournament on a nice passing play from Dylan Guenther and Colton Parayko. Guenther passed the puck to Parayko, who one-touched it to Bedard at the side of the Austrian net and the sniper put it in from a tough angle.

Pierre-Luc Dubois got his first of the tournament late in the second to make it 6-1.

“We can’t get scored on that much, that’s what we have to work on first,” said Schneider. “But it’s obviously nice when we can score some goals, it gives the guys confidence. It’s all about playing simple, getting pucks to the net and that worked well today.”

With the overtime win, Canada is tied for the Group A lead with Switzerland, each with eight points, one ahead Finland. The overtime loss gives Austria its first point of the tournament.

Both teams are off until Thursday, when Austria takes on Finland and Canada faces Norway.
 

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