With four goals by Eric Staal and five assists by Martin St. Louis, the German national ice hockey team were in a state of shock on Saturday as they grappled with their failure to make it to the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Canada and a direct qualification to the Olympic Games 2010.
“You feel a bit like a truck just steamrollered you,” Michael Hackert told news agency dpa. National coach Uwe Krupp said it was the worst showing since he took over in December 2005. “It was so bad, I don’t have words to describe it,” he said.
Staal, who had been held goalless through Canada’s first four contests, had a breakout game against Saturday with a hat trick in the second period in front of a crowd of 9,182 at the Metro Centre arena. With the win Canada maintained their perfect record atop Group F in the 16-team tournament which is being held in both Halifax and Quebec City.
In other qualification round games Saturday, Ales Kotalik scored twice as the Czech Republic squeaked by Belarus 3-2. Russia was also looking to keep their unbeaten record intact in a late game against Sweden in Quebec City.
Heading into Saturday’s game, Canada had been relying on the line of Rick Nash, Ryan Getzlaf and Dany Heatley for the bulk of its scoring. But the supporting cast came to life led by Carolina Hurricanes’ Staal, Tampa Bay Lightning’s St. Louis and Buffalo Sabres’ Derek Roy as they imposed their will on the Germans. The trio finished with 11 points between them.
It doesn’t come much easier than Staal’s fourth goal. The puck was bouncing his way all night and it was evidenced in his final goal with 5:30 left in the second period. Standing off to the right side of the German net, the puck careened over to Staal who simply flicked it with one hand on his stick into the open cage.
Canada’s next game is Monday against Finland to close out the qualification round.