In a battle of two teams needing the points, Denmark edged Great Britain 4-3 at the 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship on Friday. Christian Wejse scored the third-period winner on the power play with 7:59 left.

Wejse found himself in front of Jackson Whistles goal to tip in Joachim Blichfeld’s deft feed from the left faceoff circle.

Prior to today, Denmark had lost three straight games after opening with a 5-1 victory over Austria. The Danes cannot be relegated since they will co-host next year’s Worlds with Sweden (Stockholm & Herning), but would still prefer to be there on merit.

Despite fighting back twice to tie this game up, Great Britain were unlucky to remain pointless with four consecutive losses.

The game was gritty and at times chippy with Great Britain outshooting Denmark 31-28.

Mikkel Aagaard added two goals for Denmark and Philip Bruggisser had a single and an assist. Nick Olesen had three assists and Oscar Moelgaard added two helpers.

Liam Kirk, Cade Neilson, and Nathanael Halbert replied for Great Britain.

Kirk opened the scoring for Great Britain at 5:23 on a great individual effort. Both the Danish defenders and goalie Frederik Dichow underestimated his speed as he blitzed down left wing and around the net to tuck in a wraparound.

Just over a minute later, the Danes served up a highlight-reel response, courtesy of their youngest player. Moelgaard, a 19-year-old HV71 forward, took a feed from Olesen in the neutral zone, performed a spin-a-rama in front of British rearguard Evan Mosey, and then, while falling, sent the puck back to Aagaard for an open-net goal.

Seconds later, a scrum erupted after Sean Norris caught veteran Danish blueliner Nicholas B. Jensen, who had to be helped off, but would come back. After a video review, the officials handed Norris a two-minute minor.

Denmark cashed in on the man advantage at 8:25. Olesen sent the puck back to Bruggisser, who hammered a one-timer over screened goalie Jackson Whistle’s glove.

Neilson found the back of the net for the equalizer at 10:34 with a deflection off his right skate. No kicking motion, no review, and Great Britain had new life on just its fourth shot on goal.

Kirk nearly gave the British their second lead on a right-wing rush that Dichow barely got with his glove, spawning a fruitless quest for the rebound.

With the British net besieged at the start of the second period, Aagard put Denmark up 3-2 at 1:42, tucking a deft Olesen pass into the open side as Whistle slid around.

Pushing back near the midway mark, Great Britain came close. Wejse made a big shot block on Ben Lake, who had a gaping net. Seconds later, Dichow stone walled Brett Perlini alone in front. And Markus Lauridsen dived with his stick to break up a dangerous-looking 2-on-1.

A late-period British power play with Oliver Lauridsen off for cross-checking was highlighted by Dichow’s glove grab on a Kirk one-timer. But on the next man advantage, Halbert drew Great Britain level at 18:34 with a high wrister as he jumped in from the centre point.

Trailing late, British coach Peter Russell pulled Whistle for the extra skater with under three minutes to play. There were some nervous Danish moments under pressure, but they hung on for the three points.

The gap between Denmark and Great Britain in World Championship hockey has decreased dramatically. The Danes romped 9-0 when they first met in 2019. In 2021, Markus Lauridsen’s goal with 25 seconds in overtime lifted Denmark to a 3-2 win.