Switzerland avoided another narrow win at the 2011 World Championships in Košice, soundly defeating Belarus by a 4-1 margin in their second straight win to open the Worlds, retaining the International Hockey Lineal Championship in the process.
The Swiss struck first just over seven minutes into the first, with a Ryan Gardner tip-in on a Raphael Díaz point shot beating Belarusian goalie Andrei Mezin to take the 1-0 lead on the power play. Shots were low in the first period, with Mezin turning away six shots, while Swiss goalie Tobias Stephan kept out the same. Belarus manged to tie the gmae just 93 seconds into the second on a point slap shot from Dmitri Korobov, who had a wide open line to Stephan with both Swiss defenders stuck in the corners, to even the game at 1-1.
But the Eisgenossen opened up the game just under three minutes after the tying goal, striking three times in six and a half minutes, starting with a Goran Bezina backhander past Mezin, swooping in from behind the net to tap the puck across the goal line for teh 2-1 lead. Gardner would get his second goal on the night just under three minutes later, knocking in an errant rebounds off the back boards past a sprawling Mezin to go ahead 3-1. And three and a half minutes after that, Andres Ambühl sprung Ivo Rüthemann on a breakaway following a brutal Mikhail Grabovski turnover, leaving Rüthemann alone to rip a wrister past Mezin for the 4-1 lead. There was no scoring in the third period, as The Bisons took four consecutive penalties that made a comeback all the more difficult.
With the win, Switzerland wins its third game in their 13th and ongoing International Hockey Lineal Championship reign, a title they won from the Czechs on the Euro Hockey Tour in April, and opened the World Championships with a successful defense against France. This is the first meeting for the IHLC between Switzerland and Belarus since the Arosa Challenge in December, where Belarus dethroned the Swiss to win their second ever IHLC in a 4-3 win. Switzerland next faces Canada in Group Play at the Worlds for the IHLC.
05:39 – PEN – Meleshko, high sticking
07:08 – PP GOAL – Gardner (Díaz, Moser)
16:52 – PEN – Díaz, tripping
21:33 – GOAL – Korobov (Kostyuchenok, Stepanov)
24:11 – GOAL – Bezina (Rüthemann, Gardner)
27:03 – GOAL – Gardner (Gerber, Rüthemann)
29:25 – PEN – Bezina, holding
30:51 – SH GOAL – Rüthemann (Ambühl, du Bois)
39:47 – PEN – Furrer, holding
45:16 – PEN – Ambühl, slashing
49:11 – PEN – Denisov, interference
52:57 – PEN – Ryadinski, slashing
57:59 – PEN – Denisov, holding
59:47 – PEN – Demagin, cross checking
W: Stephan (22-23)
L: Mezin (23-27)
SHOTS ON GOAL
7+10+10 = 27
6+7+10 = 23
Goaltenders: Leonardo Genoni, Tobias Stephan. Defence: Goran Bezina (A), Raphael Díaz, Félicien du Bois, Philippe Furrer, Beat Gerber, 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: Andrei Mezin, Sergei Shabanov. Defence: Vladimir Denisov, Oleg Goroshko, Sergei Kolosov, Dmitri Korobov, Viktor Kostyuchenok (A), Alexander Ryadinski, Nikolai Stasenko. Forwards: Sergei Demagin, Sergei Drozd, Mikhail Grabovski (C), Alexander Kitarov, Andrei Kostitsyn, Yevgeni Kovyrshin, Alexander Kulakov, Dmitri Meleshko, Andrei Mikhalyov (A), Alexander Pavlovich, Andrei Stas, Andrei Stepanov, Alexei Ugarov.