GANGNEUNG, South Korea – Danny aus den Birken was at his best during some of the most tense moments a goalkeeper can have at the Olympics.
The result: Some rare Olympic success for Germany’s hockey team and a pinch-me moment for the veteran goalie.
The 33-year-old aus den Birken made 28 saves and stopped all three shots he saw in a pressure-packed shootout. Germany scored on all three of its shootout attempts to clinch the 2-1 victory on Sunday.
After the game, Aus den Birken was interviewed on television and then made his way to the mixed zone, where about a dozen reporters waited to talk with him. The grinning goalie seemed almost bewildered by the attention and soaked in the moment.
“Even to have an interview at the Olympics is awesome,” aus den Birken said laughing. “Everything I do here is just great.”
It was a big win for Germany, which hasn’t had much recent success on the international stage and didn’t even qualify for the 2014 games in Sochi. The Germans still have to play in Tuesday’s qualifying round to get to the quarterfinals, but the victory gives them some much-needed good news.
“We’ll take the momentum to the next game and we need it,” Aus den Birken said. “The next game is the most important and we need everything.”