Norway through a wrench into Switzerland’s hot performance at the 2010 World Championships, winning a surprising Qualifying Round contest over the Swiss, 3-2, to capture the International Hockey Lineal Championship, putting an abrupt end to the IHLC’s presence in Germany.
The Norwegians took the Swiss by surprise early in the game, striking early and often to build a quick lead they would maintain for the rest of the game. Anders Bastiansen got the scoring started just 3:55 into the period, potting a beautiful 3-on-2 feed from Mathis Olimb past a sprawling Martin Gerber to take the surprising 1-0 lead. Perhaps more surprising, the Isbjørnene only needed 2:58 to strike again, with Bastiansen feeding a beatiful pass through Gerber’s crease to a waiting Lars Erik Spets, who roofed the puck over a fallen Gerber for the quick 2-0 advantage.
The Eisgenossen would be quick to strike back, with Thibaut Monnet striking just 56 seconds later on a rebound in the crowded crease of Norge goalie Pål Grotnes, to cut the deficit to 2-1. But, despite being outshot 19-5 in the first period, Norway struck once more, on a Mats Zuccarello goal that completed a great tic-tac-toe passing play, with Zuccarello parked at the corner of the Swiss net to beat a sliding Gerber for the 3-1 lead after one.
Despite outshooting Norway 13-6 and 13-4 in the second and third periods, respectively, Grotnes was on fire, only conceding a late third period goal to a Julien Vauclair blast, but survived a 6-on-4 advantage during a late Norway penalty to hang on for the surprising win, despite Switzerland tripling their shot total in the game.
With the win, Norway captures just its third International Hockey Lineal Championship, their first title since November 1997. Norway becomes the third team to win the IHLC at these World Championships, defeating a Swiss team that captured the title from Canada, who entered the Worlds with the IHLC. This was the first meeting between Norway and Switzerland for the IHLC since a pair of exhibition games in Oslo in April 2009, which Switzerland won both of, 5-1 and 3-2, to keep the title.
Due to this being Norway’s final game of the Qualifying Round, in which they were eliminated from the World Championships, this becomes just the second time in the history of the modern Worlds tournament format that the IHLC did not advance to the medal rounds to be unified with the Gold Medal, the first time being 17 years earlier, when France left the 1993 Worlds with the title. Norway will now hold on to the IHLC until November’s Polessye Cup in Belarus, a four-team tournament between Norway, Belarus, Slovenia and Denmark.
03:55 – GOAL – Bastiansen (M. Olimb, L. Spets)
06:53 – GOAL – L. Spets (Bastiansen, M. Olimb)
07:49 – GOAL – Monnet (Brunner, Ambühl)
18:39 – GOAL – Zuccarello (Tollefsen, Fredriksen)
34:27 – PEN – Romy, hooking
38:59 – PEN – Monnet, hooking
45:54 – PEN – Røymark, tripping
57:49 – GOAL – Vauclair (Seger)
59:54 – PEN – Zuccarello, tripping
W: Grotnes (43-45)
L: Gerber (12-15)
SHOTS ON GOAL
5+6+4 = 15
19+13+13 = 45
Goaltenders: Pål Grotnes, André Lysenstøen. Defence: Alexander Bonsaksen, Brede Csiszar, Jonas Holøs, Juha Kaunismäki, Henrik Solberg, Ole-Kristian Tollefsen (A), Lars Løkken Østli. Forwards: Anders Bastiansen (A), Kristian Forsberg, Anders Fredriksen, Martin Laumann Ylven, Andreas Martinsen, Ken André Olimb, Mathis Olimb, Martin Røymark, Knut Henrik Spets, Lars Erik Spets, Patrick Thoresen (C), Mats Zuccarello.
Goaltenders: Martin Gerber, Tobias Stephan. Defence: Goran Bezina, Félicien du Bois, Patrick Geering, 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 (A), Martin Plüss (A), Kevin Romy, Ivo Rüthemann, Paul Savary, Morris Trachsler.