Undermanned. Under-appreciated. And perhaps one of the most exciting teams to put on a show at the 2021 World Junior tournament, Team Germany leaves Edmonton carrying out a quarterfinal loss to the Russians with one term on the tongues. Success.
In the end, that’s just what they should be considered after falling 2-1 to Team Russia on Quarterfinal Sunday. While the damage might sting just a little, at least for the players and their training personnel, the tournament as a whole should be considered a genuine success for a German squad that hasn’t seen playoff action as of this particular tournament.
Two Loss to Start 2021 WJC
Let’s be honest, it wasn’t looking rather for the Germans after their first two video games of the circular robin. Heck, even previous to taking the snow because of their first game against Finland, the team was undermanned due to players tests positive for COVID-19. That and the actual fact that Lukas Reichel didn’t travel with those to Edmonton, nor performed Moritz Seider, Germany was taking a look at an uphill challenge from the onset.
Still, a 5-3 loss to Finland to open the tournament wasn’t an awful result considering. But a 16-2 massacre in the second half a back-to-back as a result of the Canadians, didn’t exactly provide confidence for a team led by JJ Peterka and Ottawa Senators’ possibility Tim Stutzle.
Tim Stützle of Adler Mannheim is slated to be hockey’s next Leon Draisaitl (Photo Credit: Simon Hastegård/Bildbyrån).
But, given the choice to push the overall game against Canada, the Germans stumbled through their beginning two game titles knowing these were against tournament powerhouses and stood regress to something easier, ready for game 3 up against the Slovaks after being figuratively knocked down in their first two video games.
Still, positives could be studied from both their losses. They had five goals against two of the tournament’s best teams and Florian Elias was quickly becoming the third to Stutzle and Peterka’s three musketeers. Through the first two games Elias led the German squad with four factors.
But as community media quickly began debating whether clubs like Germany belonged at the earth Junior tournament, the Germans made us eat our words with a difficult fought battle against the Slovaks, accompanied by another big game – at least from their point of view – resistant to the Swiss.
Two Wins FROM Quarterfinals Play
Offence wasn’t the challenge for Germany in this tournament. Actually, after five goals in their first two game titles, the Germans guaranteed it up with four resistant to the Slovaks and another five resistant to the Swiss.
The trio of Peterka, Stutzle and Elias accounted for 87 percent of the team’s goals through round robin play and were all among the top five in tournament scoring. In addition, the team’s special teams were making an enormous difference – as the only team to score eight power play goals during their preliminary circular play.
The two wins earned Germany a 2-2 record in round robin play and the country’s first quarterfinals berth in tournament history. That exclusively is highly recommended a significant success for a team that has, frequently, been relegated from tournament play over the years.
Even in their wins, the Germans didn’t have their full squad. As stated, Reichel didn’t make the visit to Canada, and it wasn’t before win over the Swiss that the Germans possessed their players again from quarantine.
Lukas Reichel was missing from the German lineup at the 2021 World Juniors. (Image by TF-Images/Getty Images)
With their five games played at the 2021 WJC, Germany had their full lineup for two games. It’s challenging to develop chemistry when that’s the situation – specially when one particular game titles is their quarterfinal matchup with the pesky Russian squad.
However they weren’t looking for excuses and I’m not seeking to make any to them. Actually, this isn’t a bit about how precisely they couldn’t get further in the playoff rounds, it’s a story of the success that they had at the tournament this season.
Bugl Came Up Big
Apart from their offence, their goaltending had some issues early on in the tournament. Say what you would about the entire statistics, but Florian Bugl might’ve been area of the quality when it emerged to Germany’s turnaround in this tournament.
He played three game titles for the Germans after missing the team’s first two – both losses – and helped flip the tournament around for them. In his three video games, he done with a 2-1 record with his reduction coming as a result of the Russians in the quarterfinal round. He posted an alright save percentage at .897 and a 2.95 goals against average.
But Bugl also found 87 photos in his three games – typically 29 photos per game while only quitting an average of three goals per game. Still, not the numbers of a top-end tournament goaltender, but surely a part of the right path for a land that has struggled for much too long at this tournament.
While a quarterfinal leave may not cut it for most countries involved with this tournament, the Germans need to take this as a learning experience and see the 2021 World Juniors as a national success story – at least until next year.