Ice Hockey World Cup: Austria creates sensation against Finland

15,387 fans witnessed a historic event at Prague’s O2 Arena. At the 18th attempt, the Austrian team celebrated its first win against Finland. So far, two draws – most recently at the 2000 World Cup in St Petersburg – have been the best results from an Austrian perspective. After Mario Huber (24th) and Timo Nickel (50th) equalized the Finnish lead through Saku Menalainen (3rd) and Oliver Kapanen (9th), Baumgartner came back at the last second.

The Austrians have a thrilling four points after two games against Canada and Finland and have one foot in next year’s World Cup in Sweden and Denmark. However, Bader’s surprise team had no time to digest the historic result. A clash with hosts Czech Republic is already on the agenda for Friday (8:20pm, live on ORF Sport +).

Austria celebrates historic victory

Austria made the next big splash at the Ice Hockey World Championships in the Czech Republic. After winning points against world champions Canada, Finland were defeated with renewed comeback qualities. The ÖEHV selection beat the Olympic champions 3-2 with a goal in the last second.

20 minutes Finnish full steam

The order of the Austrians is again stable – in terms of rotation. This time against Switzerland, David Kickert scored a goal. David Matlehner was able to rest an extra day after his showing against the Canadiens. Defender Kilian Jundel and striker Lucas Thaler were also allowed to participate this time, but Niko Brunner and Ali Vukowitz took on the role of red-white-red noble fans.

Speaking of fans: Driven by hordes of war hunters from the far north, the Finns made it clear that they weren’t ready to breathe underdogs. Ahti Oksanen already made it 1-0 in the second minute, scoring it through the window with a clear view of the open goal. A minute later Menelanen did well and took the lead after a nice hook on the reverse.

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Finland continued to press and Kickert and his front men had their hands full. Manuel Canal showed how smart the Olympic champion is. Kapanen sneaked in from the blind spot and stole Kanal’s goal in the Austrian third to make it 2-0 (9th) with ease. But at least Austria got slightly better access to the game. Clemens Unterweger (8th), Peter Schneider (15th) and Thomas Raffle (19th) tested Harry Chatteri’s mettle. Shortly before the end, Kickert was awake again against Oiler Caskey (20th).

Austria is back

The Finns went into the first break with an impressive shot ratio of 14:4, but the Austrians showed in the second half that numbers are ultimately up for interpretation. Team captain Bader and his assistants have reminded the players, as they did against Canada, that games against bigger opponents in front of 17,000 fans are also about joy. Austria followed suit: Benjamin Nissner tested Säteri shortly after the restart with a fine shot after 47 seconds.

Less than four minutes later, the Suomi war cry was stuck in the throats of the Finnish fans. Mario Huber made it 1-2 after a perfect cross pass (24th) and Finland conceded only their second goal of the tournament. Although the Olympic champion was very dangerous in his attacks, now the Finnish lightness is gone. But Austria also played well. Marco Rossi equalized in his at bat (35th). At the end of the third game, two penalties gave the Red-White-Red an advantage for four consecutive minutes. Half time was almost a relief for the Siren favorite.

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Huber with the goal

Mario Huber scored in the 24th minute to make it 1-2.

Nickel scores, kickert shines

The picture did not change much in the third period: Finland tried to control the game, Austria was annoying and aggressive. Another penalty – the third of the game – which Austria almost used to equalize showed just how annoying the rest of the underdogs can be for the Finns. But Dominik Sverger’s hammer on the power play went unaccounted for as a ruff blocked goalie Chatterie’s sight in the goal area (45′). Bader’s video challenge changed nothing.

But the Austrians’ efforts were still rewarded as Kickert kept his team in the game. When Oksanen took a strong shot, Salzburg had backup. Ten minutes before the end, the wedding procession roared into the hall for the second time. Nickell found the gap between the goalkeeper and the bar from the blue line and scored the celebrated equalizer (50th).

Nickel ensures balance

Timo Nickel scored in the 50th minute to tie the score at 2-2.

“Buzzer Peter” in Joy

The Finns’ patience was finally broken and the remaining ten minutes turned into a red-white-red defensive battle. Unlike against Switzerland, the Austrians escaped unscathed from a Finnish power play four minutes earlier as Kickert actually turned in a header. Highlight: Stick-tip defense against Juzo Ricola’s slap shot just before the end.

As the Finns’ last series of attacks failed with ten seconds to go, excitement now came in the form of the next point win. When everything was already looking forward to an extension, Baumgartner followed in the footsteps of basketball legend Michael Jordan. With one second to go, the Swiss Legionnaire fired one last shot at the goal, surprising the clock and Chatteri with his “buzzer beater.” This time the video evidence was also on Austria’s side: 0.2 seconds before the final siren, the puck crossed the line and made red-white-red sports history.

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Voices about the game:

Roger Bader (Austria team captain): “I’m happy, it’s special to score the winning goal with one second to go. Finland, if you beat Austria first, you can be very satisfied. It was a great performance, we still struggled in the first third because Finland played a run. From the second third We performed well. We showed again that we can change quickly. Fortunately, we were rewarded.”

Benjamin Baumgartner (Scorer of the winning goal): “Before I went in, I saw there were 50 seconds left. I thought, maybe we have one more chance, rush. We drove the three, had a chance to get the rebound, and somehow it went in. I heard the siren, But the boys said it was the longest 30 seconds of my life.

Bernd was the wolf (Austrian): “They’re a great team and even when we’re 2-0 down, we stick together. Shift after shift, we keep playing and we have the qualities to put the opposition under pressure. We’re improving game by game, and that’s mainly because of our team spirit.”

Ice Hockey World Cup 2024 in Czech Republic


Group A

Austria – Finland 3:2

Door, 15,387

(0:2 1:0 2:0)

Goals: M. Huber (24th), Nickell (50th), Baumgartner (60th) or Menalanen (3rd), Kapanen (9th)

Penalty minutes: 6 or 6

Group A in Prague

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