France one win away from third straight gold, down Germany 29-28
France survived a hard-fought German comeback to make their way back into the gold medal final on Sunday.
France were eager to pull away from Germany early, using their superior fluidity in defense to stretch the German defense thin on the wings.
One of France’s main defensive strategies early on was guarding Patrick Wiencek in the center, who’s proved to be a viable scoring threat. Wiencek failed to record a single scoring attempt in the first half.
Uwe Gensheimer was a bit of a different story, though. Wiencek being covered in the center opened up space for Gensheimer to cut in the wing – he scored seven goals in the first half.
France punished Germany in the center of the court on the opposite end, too, with Luka and Nikola Karabatic forcing their way into that six meter line. Daniel Narcisse’s versatility added to Germany’s defensive headaches.
France finally made good on their promise to pull away from Germany, opening up a six goal lead in the second half. It quickly stretched to seven after Thierry Omeyer made two saves that led to two empty net goals in less than 30 seconds.
Gensheimer continued to pose serious problems for France, though, and is a major reason why Germany began a comeback to bring it back within one goal in the final five minutes of play.
Julius Kuhn also began to pressure the French defense that suddenly began to look a bit disheveled, pushing them back from the center position. A goal by Tobias Reichmann from the wing position completed the seven goal comeback in the final minute of play.
France held the ball in the final 20 seconds of play, looking to find a way to avoid overtime or – worse- a stinging last second defeat. A beautiful strike by Narcisse made its way past Andreas Wolff in the closing seconds of play, bringing France back into very familiar territory on Sunday.