Though it wasn’t by the wide margin many had expected, Team Canada defeated the Swiss 4-3 in a physical, hard-fought game in front of a packed house at Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum Wednesday night. David Bolland’s power play goal at 13:39 of the second period proved to be the winner.
Steve Downie and Dustin Boyd chipped in with a goal and an assist each, while defenceman Cam Barker had two assists.
Canadian goalie Justin Pogge recorded 14 saves on 17 shots, while Reto Berra of Switzerland countered with 28 saves on 32 shots.
“We tried to come back when we were losing 4-1, and we got to 4-3,” said Switzerland’s Julien Sprunger. “We didn’t win, but we showed we can succeed against the best team in the world.”
The Canadians looked very tentative to start off the contest, and the officiating was much tighter than in their previous game. Passes failed to connect with their intended targets, and Canada failed to capitalize on its first power play opportunity.
“We didn’t take them as seriously as we should have,” said Marc Staal.
“In the first ten minutes we were nonchalant,” said Canadian Head Coach Brent Sutter. “When you have a start you don’t want to have, you have to learn from that. As far as our game plan, it gets back to not executing the way our coaching staff would like. We’ve got to get better and we will get better.”
Coupled with Canada’s slow start was Team Switzerland’s frenetic opening play, as the Swiss came out hitting from the get-go, almost as if to show the Canadians that they wouldn’t be intimidated by the host nation.
“We wanted to give the big crowd in Vancouver an ice hockey party,” said Swiss Head Coach Jakob Kölliker. “We fought well, and I think it was a good hockey game for us. We didn’t get the point we wanted, but that’s how it is.”
“This team we played tonight played well,” conceded Sutter. “They’re a big team that can skate.”
In a penalty-filled first period, Team Canada’s Tom Pyatt and Ryan O’Marra were both sent off at 4:48 for tripping and holding respectively.
The Swiss capitalized on the 5-on-3 power play at 5:33, as Eric Blum rifled home a shot from the point that beat Canadian goalie Justin Pogge cleanly through his legs, giving the Swiss a 1-0 lead.
Team Canada answered back at 8:45, a goal that was due in large part to a poorly timed Swiss line change. Cam Barker’s quick outlet pass up the ice found Dustin Boyd virtually all alone at the Swiss blueline, with only one Swiss player back to defend. Boyd then feathered a saucer pass over to a streaking Steve Downie, who roofed the feed into the top left portion of the net, tying the game at 1-1.
Though it looked like Canada was out-hit in the first frame, the period’s biggest hit came at the 14-minute mark, as Ryan O’Marra plastered Dario Bürgler to the ice.
Canada went up 2-1 at 17:45, as Dustin Boyd’s faceoff win back to Kris Letang ended up right back on his stick in front of the Swiss net. Letang’s point shot bounced out to Boyd, and the Moose Jaw Warriors product calmly deposited the puck between Berra’s legs.
The second period saw the Canadians come out with a bit more conviction in their stride, but they still looked apprehensive in their own zone.
Team Canada’s Tom Pyatt gave Canada a 3-1 lead at the halfway mark of the game, capitalizing on a rebound from a Luc Bourdon point shot.
David Bolland gave Canada what would prove to be the winning goal on the heels of an Eric Blum charging penalty at 13:39. Bolland was the beneficiary of a beautiful no-look, cross-crease pass from Benoit Pouliot, and the London Knights sniper made no mistake, burying the puck into a yawning cage.
“That was a huge goal for us,” said Barker.
But Switzerland answered right back. Yannick Weber made it 4-2 at the 14:37 mark, as his shot from just between the blue line and the hash marks flew past several bodies and into the top righthand corner of Pogge’s net.
The second period ended prematurely at the 19:03 mark when a Swiss clearing attempt shattered the glass directly beside the Team Switzerland bench.
The two teams played out the remaining 57 seconds of the second frame at the onset of the third period, before switching ends to continue the evening’s contest.
The tight officiating continued into the third period, as Marc Staal’s tripping penalty 54 seconds into the frame left the Canadians a man down. The Swiss capitalized on the power play to make the score 4-3, as Matthias Weber’s point shot was neatly deflected by Julien Sprunger at the top of the crease.
From there however, the game began to slightly tilt slightly in Team Canada’s favour before Benoit Pouliot was assessed two separate penalties, for elbowing and high sticking, at 12:23.
Though the Swiss mounted some pressure on the extended power play, their man advantage was nullified at 14:19 when Dario Bürgler was called for tripping.
An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for diving assessed to Julian Walker with less than two minutes remaining dashed any hopes of a Swiss comeback.
Downie was Canada’s Player of the Game, and Berra earned that honour for Switzerland.
The 4-3 final was the closest outcome between the two teams since 1996, when Canada defeated Team Switzerland 2-1, though the win marks Canada’s 16th straight victory against the Swiss dating back to 1980.
With the win, Head Coach Brent Sutter set a new Team Canada coaching benchmark with his eighth consecutive victory, moving him past Don Hay.
The victory extended Team Canada’s winning streak to eight games dating back to last year’s tournament, representing the host nation’s second-longest such run.
Next up for Team Canada is a 29 December contest with the winless Norwegian squad, while the Swiss will look to rebound against Team USA 30 December.
01:05 – 🇨🇭 PEN – Lüthi, holding
01:13 – 🇨🇦 PEN – Bolland, hooking
01:59 – 🇨🇭 PEN – Berchtold, charging
04:48 – 🇨🇦 PEN – O’Marra, holding
04:48 – 🇨🇦 PEN – Pyatt, tripping
05:33 – 🇨🇭 PP2 GOAL – Blum (Šimek)
06:23 – 🇨🇭 PEN – Walker, elbowing
08:16 – 🇨🇭 PEN – Spolidoro, tripping
08:45 – 🇨🇦 PP GOAL – Downie (Boyd, Barker)
12:18 – 🇨🇭 PEN – Bürgler, hooking
16:01 – 🇨🇦 PEN – Parent, holding
16:36 – 🇨🇭 PEN – Bieber, interference
17:45 – 🇨🇦 GOAL – Boyd (Downie, Letang)
18:47 – 🇨🇦 PEN – Bolland, interference
20:35 – 🇨🇦 PEN – Parent, charging
23:19 – 🇨🇭 PEN – Cheisa, hooking
26:17 – 🇨🇭 PEN – Steinmann, hooking
30:00 – 🇨🇦 GOAL – Pyatt (Bourdon, Comeau)
32:22 – 🇨🇭 PEN – Blum, charging
33:39 – 🇨🇦 PP GOAL – Bolland (Pouliot, Barker)
34:37 – 🇨🇭 GOAL – Weber (Sprunger)
36:16 – 🇨🇦 PEN – Bolland, high sticking
40:54 – 🇨🇦 PEN – Staal, tripping
42:42 – 🇨🇭 PP GOAL – Sprunger (Bieber, Joggi)
52:23 – 🇨🇦 PEN – Pouliot, high sticking
54:19 – 🇨🇭 PEN – Bürgler, tripping
54:23 – 🇨🇦 PEN – Pouliot, elbowing
58:58 – 🇨🇭 PEN – Walker, unsportsmanlike conduct
W: 🇨🇦 Pogge (14-17)
L: 🇨🇭 Berra (28-32)
SHOTS ON GOAL
🇨🇦 13+10+9 = 32
🇨🇭 7+7+3 = 17
🇨🇦 Goaltenders: Devan Dubnyk, Justin Pogge. Defence: Cam Barker, Luc Bourdon, Kris Letang, Ryan Parent, Sasha Pokulok, Kris Russell, Marc Staal. Forwards: Daniel Bertram, Michael Blunden, Dave Bolland, Dustin Boyd, Kyle Chipchura, Andrew Cogliano, Blake Comeau, Steve Downie, Guillaume Latendresse, Ryan O’Marra, Benoit Pouliot, Tom Pyatt, Jonathan Toews.
🇨🇭 Goaltenders: Reto Berra, Leonardo Genoni. Defence: Claudio Berchtold, Eric Blum, Alessandro Chiesa, Raphael Díaz, Simon Lüthi, Patrick Parati, Yannick Weber. Forwards: Matthias Bieber, Dario Bürgler, Jérémy Gailland, Mathias Joggi, Steve Kellenberger, Fadri Lemm, Stephan Moser, Christopher Rivera, Juraj Šimek, Nico Spolidoro, Julien Sprunger, Janick Steinmann, Julian Walker.
|🇨🇦 CANADA (C)||vs.||SWITZERLAND 🇨🇭|
(since 22 Dec 2005)
|Last Title||27 Dec 2001|
(+ 1 tie)
|First IHLC Meeting (CAN vs. SUI)
🇨🇦 CAN 6-4 SUI 🇨🇭 – 27 Dec 1991 – WJC – Füssen 🇩🇪
|Previous IHLC Meeting (CAN vs. SUI)
🇨🇦 CAN 6-1 SUI 🇨🇭 – 27 Dec 2001 – WJC – Hradec Králové 🇨🇿
|Last IHLC Game
🇨🇦 CAN 5-1 FIN 🇫🇮 – 26 Dec 2005 – WJC – Vancouver 🇨🇦
|Next IHLC Game
🇨🇦 CAN 4-0 NOR 🇳🇴 – 29 Dec 2005 – WJC – Vancouver 🇨🇦
Article Credit: Hockey Canada