Switzerland successfully defended their newly-won International Hockey Lineal Championship with a narrow 3-2 victory over Czechia, with a two-goal performance from Andres Ambühl holding off a furious Czech attack at the 2010 World Championships.
Following a nine-point night for the line of Ivo Rüthemann, Martin Plüss and Thomas Déruns against Canada, the Eisgenossen’s hot line was at it again early, with Plüss knocking in a backhand rebound off a Goran Bezina point shot past Czech netminder Tomáš Vokoun to take the 1-0 lead 4:13 into the game. Andres Ambühl would strike just under ten minutes later, finishing a fantastic tic-tac-toe passing play that he started after forcing a turnover in the Czech defensive zone, giving the Swiss a 2-0 lead they took into the first intermission, outshooting the Czechs 13-8.
The Czechs would halve the deficit 4:07 into the second when, parked alone in front of Swiss goalie Martin Gerber, Jan Marek knocked in his own rebound following a Jakub Voráček feed, to put the score at 2-1. While the Czechs led the period in shots, reversing their first period fortunes with a 15-6 shot tally, Ambühl still regained the lead for the Swiss, 7:40 after the Marek goal, keeping the puck to himself on a 2-on-1 and beating Vokoun five-hole for the 3-1 lead. Miroslav Blaťák would get a stroke of luck for the Czechs, scoring on a point shot that deflected off Plüss and into his own net, but despite pulling within one, and outshooting the Swiss in the third, Czechia was unable to solve Gerber and his Swiss supporting defence, dropping the contest in a 3-2 final.
With the win, Switzerland retains the International Hockey Lineal Championship it captured from Canada three days earlier, who entered the tournament with the IHLC, defeating Italy and Latvia before dropping the title. Switzerland, in their 11th IHLC reign, last played the Czechs for the title in a two-game exhibition series in April 2001, a series split with one win each, but resulting in the Czechs leaving with the IHLC. Switzerland now moves on to face Norway in Qualifying Round play with the IHLC on the line.
04:13 – GOAL – Plüss (Bezina, Rüthemann)
14:07 – GOAL – Ambühl (Brunner, Monnet)
24:07 – GOAL – Marek (Voráček)
25:21 – PEN – Barinka, tripping
27:15 – PEN – Rachůnek, roughing
31:47 – GOAL – Ambühl (Helbling)
32:28 – PEN – Klepiš, high sticking
34:41 – GOAL – Blaťák (Červenka)
36:15 – PEN – Seger, hooking
36:59 – PEN – Monnet, roughing
43:07 – PEN – Koukal, holding
W: Gerber (30-32)
L: Vokoun (21-24)
SHOTS ON GOAL
13+6+5 = 24
8+15+9 = 32
Goaltenders: Martin Gerber, Tobias Stephan. Defence: Goran Bezina, Félicien du Bois, Timo Helbling, Steve Hirschi, Roman Josi, Mathias Seger (C), Julien Vauclair. Forwards: Andres Ambühl, Damien Brunner, Thomas Déruns, Paolo Duca, Marcel Jenni, Romano Lemm, Thibaut Monnet, Nino Niederreiter, Martin Plüss (A), Kevin Romy, Ivo Rüthemann (A), Paul Savary, Morris Trachsler.
Goaltenders: Ondřej Pavelec, Tomáš Vokoun. Defence: Michal Barinka, Miroslav Blaťák, Petr Čáslava (A), Petr Gřegořek, Tomáš Mojžíš, Ondřej Němec, Karel Rachůnek, Michal Rozsíval. Forwards: Roman Červenka, Petr Hubáček, Jaromír Jágr (A), Lukáš Kašpar, Jakub Klepiš, Petr Koukal, Jan Marek, Jiří Novotný, Tomáš Rolinek (C), Martin Růžička, Petr Vampola, Jakub Voráček.