Norway blanked the Danes for their first win

Norway beat Denmark 2-0 for their first win of the 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. The Norwegians had previously lost three games.

Goalie Henrik Haagland was sent off as Eric Salston also scored. The final shots were 29-24 in favor of Norway.

„It was a very important game for us to win against Denmark and it was a lot of fun,” Brandsek-Nygaard said. „I think we did great.”

There was an element of revenge against Norway. The Danes have enjoyed bragging rights in the tournament in recent years. In the 2022 Olympic qualifiers, Denmark beat Norway 2–0 in the decider in Oslo in 2021. Denmark have won the last two World Championship meetings 3-0 (2016, 2018).

„It’s a big derby for us,” Haugland said. „We want to beat them every time. We have them in the group this year. We have them in the Olympic qualifier again in August. So it was nice to break the chain.”

„They played better than us in the second period,” said Patrick Russell, Denmark’s assistant captain. „I thought we played better in the third match. But you have to put 60 minutes together and try. It wasn’t good enough.”

The battle levels were high in a scoreless first period and the test was tight. It was an important match for both the teams, to stay in the first division and have a chance at the quarter finals.

Mats Zuccarello, the all-time Norwegian points leader in NHL history, returned to the lineup after missing one game due to illness. He fit in with a stacked top line featuring captain Patrick Thoreson and Brandschek-Nygaard, who is projected to be a first-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft.

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Denmark got their first power play of the game late in the first period. Thorsen was sent off for a tackle on Christian Wedges in front of Haagland. However, the Danes could not find the range.

Norway turned up the intensity in the second period. Near the five-minute mark, Norway’s best chance for their first man advantage forced Ticho into a good glove stop. A Danish clearing attempt yielded a shorthanded breakaway, but Nick Olesen’s backhand hit the side of the net.

At 7:15, the Norwegian top line opened the scoring with a rush as the Danish fans began chanting their support. Zuccarello found Brandsek-Nygaard in the middle for a one-timer that slipped past Dicho’s glove. It was the second goal of the Worlds for the 18-year-old forward, who plays for Sweden’s Mora Ike.

Thoresen praised Brandsek-Nygaard: „It was a world-class shot by him. Me and Juke were trying to find him in a good shooting area. Obviously, Mats is Mats, and his play was amazing before he got to the goal. He almost tripped the board after tricking the Danish guy.”

It was the first Danish goal against Norway since May 9, 2015, when Ken Andre Olimp scored 3:18 into the first period in a 4–1 win in Ostrava.

With more than seven minutes left in the middle frame, Norway assistant captain Thomas Berg-Pahlsen failed to finish off another rush, extending his stick to deflect a pass with one hand.

In the final stanza the health took off. Norway’s Christian Kasastull deposited Vejsey over the boards with a well-timed, heavy body check. Thoresen’s high-sticking call created another wasted power-play opportunity for the Danes.

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At the other end, Zuccarello beat Dizzou with a rising shot past the Danish netminder four minutes from time. His right leg kicked back in a desperate attempt to keep the puck out. The play was reviewed on video and ruled not to have crossed the goal line.

“Now we have a line [Mats]Michael and Patrick, I think we have a new dimension,” said Haagland. „Offensively, it’s been really good for us.”

After Denmark pulled Tycho for the sixth attack, Salston sealed the win with an empty-netter with 11 seconds remaining.

Denmark has never dropped back since returning to the top 16 in 2003 after a 54-year absence. Norway hasn’t had a recession since 2006. Last year, the Danes finished 10th in Tampere, while the Norwegians finished 13th for the third year in a row.

The result improves Norway’s all-time World Championship record against Denmark to six wins and three losses, dating back to 2006.

According to Russell, Denmark will take a more straightforward approach to Wednesday’s game against hosts Sex: „We need to regroup. Come out hard. There will be a good crowd and we can destroy the party.”

The Danes have an extra incentive to increase their speed. They will co-host the 2025 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship with Sweden (May 9 to 25). Herning, who joined Copenhagen as runners-up when Denmark first hosted the tournament in 2018, will share the honor with Swedish capital Stockholm next year. So playing well this year will help build enthusiasm among Danish hockey fans.

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