It took a while for someone to generate an offensive spark in the tournament opener for both France and Switzerland, but when it came it was electrifying. Julien Vauclair’s goal at 1:46 of overtime gave Switzerland a 1-0 victory over France.
Vauclair took a pass at the Swiss blue line from Ivo Rüthemann and then proceeded to skate through the neutral zone, curling to his right as he came in over the French blueline. He finished off by driving between defencemen Yohann Auvitu and Sacha Treille, and beating netminder Cristobal Huet from close in.
“It was a four on four situation [because of the overtime] and this is my type of situation,” said Vauclair. “The defenceman looked like he thought I was going to pass the puck, and it looked like I would be able to skate through. So I skated thorough.”
There was a lack of power in the game on a couple of levels. There wasn’t a great deal of offence generated by either team and, about one minute into the third period, electricity in the entire building went out. The power crash wasn’t just confined to the arena. Journalists were told that power “in most of the entire city of Kosice” had gone down and would be restored “soon.” Right on cue, the lights clicked back on. Unfortunately for the both teams, there was no light to be shed on their rather dimly lit offensive games.
Andres Ambühl looked as though he had Switzerland’s first goal with 13:23 remaining in the third period. Parked off to the left of French goalie Cristobal Huet, Ambühl had a good look and lots of time – but Huet fired out the left leg to take away the short side and keep the game tied at 0-0.
The Swiss expressed some quiet concern heading into the game about France’s ability to pull off an upset; as it turned out, those concerns were justified. Switzerland looked tight in the opening two periods, with no good scoring chances of their own and a couple of defensive breakdowns that led to chances for the French – one leaving Sacha Trielle all alone off to Swiss goaltender Tobias Stephan’s left, and another shorthanded chance that saw Laurent Maunier walk in all alone.
Switzerland outshot France 35-29.
France and Switzerland have now met 12 times at the WM, with Switzerland winning 9 times. The last time the French won against the Swiss was in 2000, when they defeated then 4-2.
IHLC: With the win, Switzerland retains the International Hockey League Championship it won from the Czechs just under two weeks ago on the Euro Hockey Tour, making them incumbent champions coming into the World Championships. Switzerland, in their 13th reign with the IHLC, last faced France for the title at the 2009 World Championships in Bern, also winning 1-0 to retain the title. Switzerland next faces Belarus in Košice with the IHLC on the line.
05:59 – PEN – Raux, holding
11:46 – PEN – Stancescu, slashing
16:10 – PEN – Roussel, delay of game
20:37 – PEN – Gardner, tripping
24:42 – PEN – S. Da Costa, slashing
32:51 – PEN – Furrer, hooking
42:12 – PEN – Trachsler, tripping
43:15 – PEN – Meunier, hooking
51:49 – PEN – S. Da Costa, tripping
52:33 – PEN – Rüthemann, interference
56:08 – PEN – Rüthemann, boarding
61:46 – GOAL – Vauclair (Rüthemann)
W: Stephan (29-29)
L: Huet (34-35)
SHOTS ON GOAL
11+8+13+3 = 35
12+12+4+1 = 29
Goaltenders: Leonardo Genoni, Tobias Stephan. Defence: Goran Bezina (A), Raphael Díaz, Félicien du Bois, Philippe Furrer, Luca Sbisa, Mathias Seger (C), Julien Vauclair. Forwards: Andres Ambühl, Matthias Bieber, Ryan Gardner, Romano Lemm, Kevin Lötscher, Thibaut Monnet, Simon Moser, Martin Plüss (A), Ivo Rüthemann, Julien Sprunger, Victor Stancescu, Morris Trachsler.
Goaltenders: Cristobal Huet, Fabrice Lhenry. Defence: Yohann Auvitu, Vincent Bachet (A), Nicholas Besch, Kévin Hecquefeuille (A), Jonathan Janil, Maxime Moisand, Thomas Roussel. Forwards: Nicolas Arrossamena, Pierre-Édouard Bellemare, Stéphane Da Costa, Teddy Da Costa, Julien Desrosiers, Damien Fleury, Laurent Gras, Brian Henderson, Laurent Meunier (C), Damien Raux, Jérémie Romand, Luc Tardif, Sacha Treille.