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Germany en route to medal round after last-gasp win over Austria
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Februar 11, 2002; 16:36
Germany en route to medal round after last-gasp win over Austria
Eliminated Slovaks angry at NHL
Frank Johne

With only 74 seconds left in regulation, Andi Loth scores the game-winner

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Salt Lake City/Munich - Thanks to a last-gasp goal by winger Andi Loth, Team Germany came away with a lucky 3-2 win over neighboring Austria and improved to 2-0 in the Olympic Preliminary Round. Meanwhile, the highly-favored Slovaks had to bury their hopes of advancing to the medal round after a twelve-goal shootout with Latvia.

Defender Andreas Renz and goalie Marc Seliger celebrate Germany’s second win
Leading DEL Scorers
(as of Feb 19, 2005)

“Shot, bang and it was in... a lucky goal” Loth of the Kassel Huskies described his game.winning score. “We were a huge underdog coming into the tournament and now we have a legitmate shot at the medal round. That’s great.”

With only 1:14 remaining, German forward Mark MacKay won a face-off in the Austrian zone. The puck got to Loth who cut in all alone on the Austrian net- He wristed a backhander that beat surprised Austrian netminder Rainhard Divis of the Worcester Ice Cats to the stickside.

Facing elimination, Austria clearly dominated the final period after rallying back from an early two-goal deficit. Only 81 seconds into the campaign, Klaus Kathan of the Kassel Huskies went topshelf on a breakaway to give the Germans a 1-0 lead. Canadian-born Len Soccio of the Hanover Scorpions doubled the lead late in the first, lifting a wrister over Divis’ blocker after a nice feed from Kathan.

But the poised Austrians battled back, tying the score on a powerplay blast by Gerald Ressmann from the high slot and a one-timer from Gerhard Unterluggauer seconds before the second intermission.

“We got away from our game in the second period a little bit,” Canadian-born German Mark MacKay said. “We got a little undisciplined, but we tried to work hard at the end there and we got lucky.”.

Highly-touted Slovaks eliminated

Latvia will play Germany on Tuesday in a showdown for the Group A title and the right to advance to final-round play against hockey powers Canada, the United States, Russia, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Finland. Germany only needs a tie to advance.

As in their surprise 3-0 loss to Germany 24 hours before, the addition of a couple of NHL stars could not help Slovakia against Latvia. They generated a lot more offense thanks to the offensive firepower of Pavol Demitra, Marian Hossa and Joszef Stümpel. But poor defense and goaltending killed the Slovaks as they squandered a three-goal lead in the final period against Latvia, settling for a 6-6 tie that eliminated them from contention.

"It's very disappointing,” a frustrated Robert Petrovicky stated. “We have very great players all over the NHL. Here we are playing two lines, three lines, guys are flying at night and getting here in the morning- They play two, three games in a row, they have cross-continent travel. If we had five days together, ,maybe we would struggle in our goaltending but our offense could be deadly. But we can't go back. It's over for us."

"It was very important to us," Latvian defender Sandis Ozolinsh of the Florida Panthers said after contributing three assists. "We have a lot of talented players who have played with each other a lot. We were less disjointed than the Slovakians were."
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