The Netherlands started the tournament well in Group A beating Bulgaria 13-0, Croatia 7-1 and China 8-0. With China The Netherlands qualified for the promotion group, taking with them their 0-8 encounter. First Holland competed Lithuania, with the ever dangerous Egidius Bauba. Allthough ahead 3-0 in the first period, with goals by Tom Speel (1.56), Simon de Wit (9.35) and Al Raymond (12.49), the Dutch didn't catch their best game. In the second period Tom Hartogs (31.35) and Tom Speel (38.55) upped the score to 5-0. Defenseman Marcel Houben hit the puck home for 6-0 at 49.48. Lithuanian forward Yuri Merkutov (Energija Elektrenai) settled the score on 54.35 at 6-1.
In the final promotion match The Netherlands totally dominated the other unbeaten team Rumania. After only 27 seconds Ron Berteling tipped in a blast from the blueline of Leo van den Thillart. At the other side Atilla Nagy (SC Miercurea Ciuc) fired the puck towards the net. Ion Timaru ( Steaua Bucuresti) stopped the puck with his stick and had a tremendous chance for the equilizer. Standing alone in front of Dutch goaltender Honoré Loos his shot was an easy catch for the netminder. At 6.58 Ron Berteling scored again effectively finding the five hole: 2-0. Then Theo Krüger went straigth for the net. The Rumanian defense didn't attack him properly. His shot deflected from the goalie stick via the inside of the right skate of the goaltender into the net. 3-0 at 7.38. These two mistakes by Viorel Radu (Steaua Bucuresti) promted the Rumanian coach Ion Ionita to bring Andras Laday (SC Miercurea Ciuc) between the pipes. But at 8.12 he was beaten clean by Simon de Wit, who converted a backward pass by Tom Speel (4-0).
In the second period Tom Speel intercepted a Rumanian pass in his own end. He immediately raced straight for the net and scored 5-0 on 24.06. And after Al Raymond beat Andras Laday with a slapshot in the near corner (6-0 at 24.57) the Rumanian team again changed goalies and Radu was back. One and a half minute later (26.30) Al Raymond tipped in a fine pass by David Livingston, 7-0.
In the final period Theo Krüger misplayed the puck in his own end. Levente Elekes (SC Miercurea Ciuc) got hold of the puck and rifled it home, 7-1 (46.08). Then Leo van den Thillart was sent forward by David Livingston. Radu played the puck, but Tom Hartogs intercepted. With the goaltender crawling on the ice and no Rumanian defnseman to be seen Tom had time enough to move the puck around Viorel and let the puck kiss the net, 8-1 at 48.12. With his third Al Raymond, a player of Second Divison team Smoke Eaters Geleen, scored the final marker for 9-1 after Radu had denied Chris Eimers and Al shot for the open net. The crowd of 2200 went nuts and with this result The Netherlands is back in Pool B after an absence of a year.
Remarkable the number of German fans visiting the games of the Dutch national team. On Saturday April 10 th some 400 witnessed and cheered for the Dutch. The explanation is simple. Almost all of them are fans of the German Ice Hockey League (DEL) team Krefeld Pinguins, where National Team coach Doug Mason coaches and defenseman Leo van den Thillart and forward Tom Hartogs play. The Germans made the game a real show with drums and chants!
A second remarkable fact is that the Dutch only gave up three goals in five matches! Surely the result of very good team work. But also the excellent performances of goalies Marcel Nijland (Heerenveen) and Honoré Loos (Nijmegen) should be mentioned.