Switzerland narrowly avoided an upset in their opening game of the 2011 World Championship in overtime, denying France only their seventh International Hockey League Championship in history with a 1-0 overtime over France to retain the IHLC.
The game turned over frequently in terms of offensive output, with Switzerland and France alternating shot advantages throughout the opening three periods, combining for a total of 32 and 28 shots in regulation, respectively. Both Tobias Stephan and Cristobal Huet were sharp throughout, helping both defensive corps turn away scoring opportunities, and successfully killing off the many penalties to both sides throughout the game, with penalties at six for the Eisgenossen and five for Les Bleus.
All the careful, defensive play made the winning goal that much more surprising, as it only took Switzerland 1:46 into overtime to strike and end the game. Swiss defenceman Julien Vauclair took a feed from Ivo Rüthemann in his own zone, sped up the ice, and weaved through French forward Sacha Treille and French defenceman Yohann Auvitu and Nicolas Besch, pulling a deke from backhand to forehand to beat Huet and score the only goal of the game. Just like that, the Swiss left the Steel Aréna with the narrow victory.
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, Kevin 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.