A reminder at the right time and things are going well for John-Jason Peterka. With his four points in the 7:2 (1:0, 3:0, 3:2) of the German national team against outsiders Hungary, the NHL striker of the Buffalo Sabers finally got the necessary self-confidence for the decisive phase of the Ice Hockey World Championship.
With one goal and three assists, the 21-year-old responded to the tastes of national coach Harold Kreis in Tampere. He had left him on the bench in the final phase of the 4-2 win against Denmark on Friday. “That was an extra boost of motivation,” admitted Peterka after the third German win in the preliminary round in a row. “I was more motivated to show what I can really do today.”
Previously, the top talent had achieved relatively little at this World Cup. Like the entire front row, the Munich player, along with Dominik Kahun and Marcel Noebels, played too awkwardly in the past few games and seemed close to despair. All the tension that fell from him was visible on Sunday when he scored to make it 5-0 (43rd minute). Peterka took a deep breath and then added two more goals from Kahun (51st) and Jonas Müller (59th). He had previously given an assist to Moritz Seiders 2-0 (36th).
Peterka now German top scorer
“I can certainly play better, but I’m already very happy now,” said the highly praised afterwards. With seven points from six games, Peterka is now the top German scorer at the World Cup. “JJ has very high standards for himself. Sometimes he puts too much pressure on himself,” said national coach Kreis after the clear win against Hungary.
With all his experience, the 64-year-old hadn’t previously made any major personnel changes that many had expected. In fact, he only swapped Noebels for Frederik Tiffels from the third row and thus got significantly more speed in his supposed parade storm. “We played too much outside of the field in the last few games. Today we had a lot more pull towards the goal,” said Peterka, specifically about his attack line.
Storm again with a double pack
His teammates were also happy about the broken knot in his case. NHL colleague Nico Sturm from the San Jose Sharks, for example, as a hard worker, is a completely different type of player than the technically adept Peterka and therefore a professional as Kreis imagines him. With his straightforward game, Sturm have had much more success at the World Cup so far. The 28-year-old scored twice again on Sunday (36th/38th) and is Germany’s top scorer at the World Cup in Finland and Latvia with five goals so far.
Sturm is also progressing off the ice and, after the recent victories against Denmark (6:4) and Austria (4:2), openly named the problems in the German game. The Peterka/Kahun series in particular must have felt addressed when Sturm complained about “too many faxes on the blue line” on Friday.
Conclusion of the preliminary round on Tuesday against France
“JJ was definitely pissed off,” said Sturm, referring to Kreis’ surprising move against Austria to leave Peterka on the bench at the end. “Today he showed that if he makes the right decisions, he’s our best striker,” continued Sturm. “I’m pleased that it went so well for him today and that he will hopefully find his form at the right time of the tournament. Because he is incredibly important to us.”
On Tuesday (11.20 a.m. / Sport1 and MagentaSport) the German team will face France at the end of the preliminary round. Then the desired entry into the quarter-finals should be made perfect. “If he’s feeling better now, he’ll help us against France,” Kreis said of Peterka.
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