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Germany Avoid Late-Game Collapse to China

China scored its first two Olympic goals, but Germany managed to hold on in a 3-2 win on Saturday in men's hockey action in Beijing.
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China scored its first two Olympic goals, but Germany managed to hold on in a 3-2 win on Saturday in men's hockey action in Beijing.

It was a little too close for comfort for Germany, which won its first game of the tournament after winning silver in 2018. Germany lost 5-1 to Canada in its opener, while China lost 8-0 to the Americans and were just looking for something positive on the ice.

The shots were 38-16 in favor of Germany, who limited China to just two shots in the third.

It was a good start for China, which knew that an early goal would be important due to their overall inexperience. At one point, they owned a 5-3 shot advantage and generally made Mathias Niederberger have to work hard for his saves. 

Ultimately, they couldn't find the offense and Germany was able to take over. At 9:04, Daniel Pietta beat Jeremy Smith, who was taken out by German defenseman Moritz Muller in a collision in the crease. The goal was originally deemed good, but a coach's challenge by China had it overturned. 

It wouldn't matter for long because Germany answered back in a big way shortly after. Marcel Brandt scored on his own rebound after rushing down the ice, taking a shot, beating the Chinese defenders back to retrieve the puck before putting it past Smith for the marker. 

Three minutes after that, former NHL defenseman Marcel Brandt wired a wrist shot from the point after a faceoff win from Dominik Kahun and sent it over Smith's head and in for the 2-0 goal. Kahun then scored one of his own at 24:41 after tipping in Moritz Muller's point shot, putting the score well out of reach before the halfway mark of the contest.

Penalty troubles caused Germany to play on its heels for most of the second period, leaving the ice without another goal. China, however, would score a historic goal. In the final minute of the middle stanza, Parker Foo scored on a rebound opportunity from Jake Chelios and beat a sprawled Niederberger for the 3-1 goal.

Then, on the power play at 49:00, Tyler Wong made his mark. Wong would one-time a pass from Brandon Yip and made no mistake on its placement, cutting the deficit to just one. Germany allowed just one shot after that point and played good shutdown defense, holding on to the win in a game that was much closer than they likely expected.

Both teams will complete the round-robin on Sunday, with China meeting up with Canada and Germany looking to stop an undefeated American squad.

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