Germans score their first victory

ADAM WAZNY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:22 AM ET

Though they looked like a team that didn't want to be in the relegation round, Germany still had enough to take care of Kazakhstan yesterday.

Goals from Franziska Busch, Andrea Lanzl, and Bettina Evers paced the Germans to their first win at the 2007 World Women's Hockey Championship, a 3-0 sleepwalk over the still-winless Kazakhs in front of an announced crowd of 2,124 at MTS Centre.

"It's a relief," said upbeat German forward Nicola Holmes after the game. "Especially in the third period, we woke up and finally got a little bit of emotion going on. Not only was it a relief to win, but it showed we could play well together again. We didn't get that many shots for the first couple periods -- they had more shots than we did -- we just have a better goalie and we we're lucky at that point."

The Germans, winless in two games against Canada and Switzerland, could be excused for a lacklustre performance yesterday since playing in the relegation round is not the position they wanted to be in as the tournament moves on. The team which finishes last in the group will not be invited to the world championships next year in Beijing, meaning the disappointment of knowing you can finish not higher than seventh must quickly be replaced by an urgency to win.

That's mentally tough, which is why they didn't start taking it to Kazakhstan until the third period.

"It was hard because we lost two games in a row and the best place we can (finish) is seventh," said Lanzl, whose club will face Russia tomorrow afternoon. "We knew we had to win, it was a must-win -- if we would have lost ... oh my God. Not good."

Following her outstanding performance in a blowout loss against Canada Thursday, goaltender Vione Harrer was given the afternoon off against the Kazakhs. Jennifer Harss took her place in the German crease, turning aside 24 shots for the win.

Yekaterina Ryzhova got the start for Kazakhstan and made 30 saves.

Kazakhstan, the only team in the nine-nation event yet to score a goal, will face the Russians today (noon) in a game they have to win to avoid relegation.


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