Germany opens ice hockey world championship by beating Russia

Germany opened the ice hockey world championships with a historic win over Russia on Friday on, running out 2-0 winners for their first win over their opponents which ended a 32-match winless streak.

Germany opens ice hockey world championship by beating Russia
Reimer scores the second goal. Photo: DPA

The victory in Bratislava was also sweet revenge for the German loss to the Russians in last year’s semi-finals.

In Kosice where Group B is based, Olympic champions Canada got off to a winning start, easing to a 4-1 triumph over Belarus.

But it was Germany’s superb performance that took the eye and certainly pleased their manager.

“Our players executed the game plan perfectly, and we had good goaltending,” Uwe Krupp said.

“It was a day when just about everything worked in our favour.”

Forward Thomas Grelinger put Germany into the lead 4:19 into the second period, beating Russia’s keeper Yevgeny Nabokov with a precise unopposed wrist shot after a Russian mix-up in defence.

Russia poured into attack trying to level, but were making too many unforced errors, while Germany defended well replying on the counter-attack to keep their narrow lead throughout the second period.

In the third period, Russia tried to take Germany’s goal by storm but German keeper Dennis Endras played at his best producing 31 saves to win the Player of the Match title.

Striker Patrick Reimer made it 2-0, scoring on a breakaway with 2:07 remaining, to secure his team’s well-deserved win.

“We played hard for 60 minutes,” Endras said. “I think we were the better team in the first 40 minutes. We tightened up our gaps and they didn’t have much room.”

Canada started confidently against Belarus breaking the deadlock through Edmonton Oilers forward Jordan Eberle 1:52 into the match.

Belarus levelled with just 34 seconds remaining before the first intermission through Andrei Stepanov, who swept the puck home from close range.

Carolina Hurricanes striker Jeff Skinner restored Canada’s lead 10:27 into the second firing the puck in from just outside the crease, while New York Islanders John Tavares made it 3-1 for Canada 5:18 into the third.

Eberle netted his second of the match at 48:39 on power play to wrap up the scoring.

In the late Group A match, hosts Slovakia, who are keen to repeat their world title heroics of 2002, came back from a goal down to beat Slovenia 3-1.

The Slovaks seized the initiative from the start to outshoot Slovenia 14-5 in the first period but with no immediate reward.

Indeed it was promoted Slovenia who grabbed the lead 2:37 into the second on power play through Ales Kranjc, who beat the Slovakia defence on a breakaway to send the puck home between Jaroslav Halak’s pads.

Slovakia continued peppering Slovenia’s keeper Robert Kristan with shots and Miroslav Satan levelled with 4:44 remaining before the second interval, wristing the puck under the crossbar.

Defender Peter Podhradsky put the hosts into the lead with a powerful slap shot 7:03 into the third, while Lubos Bartecko rounded off the scoring with his empty-netter with eight seconds remaining.


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Germany arrests Russian scientist for spying for Moscow

German police arrested a Russian scientist working at an unidentified university, accusing him of spying for Moscow, prosecutors said on Monday, in a case that risks further inflaming bilateral tensions.

Germany arrests Russian scientist for spying for Moscow
Vladimir Putin. Photo: dpa/AP | Patrick Semansky

Federal prosecutors said in a statement that the suspect, identified only as Ilnur N., had been taken into custody on Friday on suspicion of “working for a Russian secret service since early October 2020 at the latest”.

Ilnur N. was employed until the time of his arrest as a research assistant for a natural sciences and technology department at the unnamed German university.

German investigators believe he met at least three times with a member of Russian intelligence between October 2020 and this month. On two occasions he allegedly “passed on information from the university’s domain”.

He is suspected of accepting cash in exchange for his services.

German authorities searched his home and workplace in the course of the arrest.

The suspect appeared before a judge on Saturday who remanded him in custody.

‘Completely unacceptable’

Neither the German nor the Russian government made any immediate comment on the case.

However Moscow is at loggerheads with a number of Western capitals after a Russian troop build-up on Ukraine’s borders and a series of espionage scandals that have resulted in diplomatic expulsions.

Italy this month said it had created a national cybersecurity agency following warnings by Prime Minister Mario Draghi that Europe needed to
protect itself from Russian “interference”. 

The move came after an Italian navy captain was caught red-handed by police while selling confidential military documents leaked from his computer to a Russian embassy official.


The leaders of nine eastern European nations last month condemned what they termed Russian “aggressive acts” citing operations in Ukraine and “sabotage” allegedly targeted at the Czech Republic.

Several central and eastern European countries have expelled Russian diplomats in solidarity with Prague but Russia has branded accusations of its involvement as “absurd” and responded with tit-for-tat expulsions.

The latest espionage case also comes at a time of highly strained relations between Russia and Germany on a number of fronts including the ongoing detention of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, who received treatment in Berlin after a near-fatal poisoning.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has moreover worked to maintain a sanctions regime over Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula, the scene of ongoing fighting between pro-Russia separatists and local forces.

And Germany has repeatedly accused Russia of cyberattacks on its soil.

The most high-profile incident blamed on Russian hackers to date was a cyberattack in 2015 that completely paralysed the computer network of the Bundestag lower house of parliament, forcing the entire institution offline for days while it was fixed.

German prosecutors in February filed espionage charges against a German man suspected of having passed the floor plans of parliament to Russian secret services in 2017.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas last week said Germany was expecting to be the target of Russian disinformation in the run-up to its general election in September, calling it “completely unacceptable”.

Russia denies being behind such activities.

Despite international criticism, Berlin has forged ahead with plans to finish the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, set to double natural gas supplies from Russia to Germany.