Canada capitalized on a rubbery Reto Berra in goal for Switzerland, scoring on five rebounds in a 7-2 victory, getting goals from seven different scorers to win their sixth straight in Prague, clinch Group A’s top spot and retain the International Hockey Lineal Championship.
As they have been doing all tournament, Canada came out firing early, converting less than a minute in when Tyler Seguin banged in a Jake Muzzin rebound sitting in the blue paint past Berra for the early lead. Morris Trachsler evened things up for the Eisgenossen five minutes later, deflecting a shot from behind the goal line off Canadian keeper Mike Smith and in. Seemingly going into intermission with the tie, Nathan MacKinnon had other plans, ripping a laser from inside the blue line top corner over Berra with 18 seconds left in the period, taking a 2-1 lead into intermission.
Canada’s offense exploded in the second period, outshooting the Swiss 18-4 and striking another three times, starting with an Aaron Ekblad blast, off a beautiful feed from Sean Couturier, past Berra for the 3-1 advantage. Despite hanging on against the outpouring of shots, the Swiss seemed destined to survive the period until the final minute, when Jordan Eberle knocked in a Sidney Crosby rebound alone in front with exactly one minute remaining, followed up by a Cody Eakin rebound off an Ekblad point shot 59 seconds later, with one second left in the period, to suddenly turn a relatively close 3-1 game into a future blowout at 5-1.
The Eisgenossen cut the deficit to 5-2 early in the third, when a brutal Matt Duchene giveaway deep in the Canadian zone allowed Damien Brunner to chip away the puck five-hole goal past Smith just 2:17 into the period. While the shots remained far closer in this period (12-9), it was Berra’s awful rebound control that finally buried Switzerland, with Couturier knocking in a Tyler Toffoli wrister rebound to put things at 6-2 in the twelfth minute. And just for good measure, Claude Giroux knocked in a Brent Burns rebound from along the goal line past Berra, on the power play, with less than three minutes to go for the final 7-2 score.
With the win, Canada wins their third straight in their 60th and current International Hockey Lineal Championship reign, after winning the title from Sweden and retaining yesterday against France. This marks the first meeting between these squads in a year, where Canada won a pre-Worlds exhibition game 4-0 in Zürich to retain. Canada, now locked into first place in Group A, finishes the Preliminary Round in two days’ time against Austria, with the destiny of the IHLC moving forward in Prague to be decided.
00:53 – GOAL – Seguin (Muzzin, Giroux)
01:59 – PEN – Helbling, cross checking
06:21 – GOAL – Trachsler (Schäppi, Streit)
07:20 – PEN – Hollenstein, high sticking
11:50 – PEN – Hamhuis, hooking
19:42 – GOAL – MacKinnon (Spezza, Wiercioch)
20:28 – PEN – Muzzin, delay of game
25:19 – PEN – Streit, hooking
27:59 – GOAL – Ekblad (Couturier, Eakin)
29:55 – PEN – Burns, cross checking
33:43 – PEN – Brunner, hooking
38:15 – PEN – team, too many players
39:00 – PP GOAL – Eberle (Crosby, Burns)
39:59 – GOAL – Eakin (Couturier, Ekblad)
42:17 – GOAL – Brunner
50:00 – PEN – team, too many players
52:27 – GOAL – Couturier (Toffoli, Hamhuis)
54:10 – PEN – MacKinnon, roughing
54:10 – PEN – Helbling, roughing
55:24 – PEN – Fiala, high sticking
57:08 – PP GOAL – Giroux (Burns, O’Reilly)
58:54 – PEN – Ekblad, tripping
59:22 – PEN – Savard, slashing
W: Smith (23-25)
L: Berra (39-46)
SHOTS ON GOAL
16+18+12 = 46
12+4+9 = 25
Goaltenders: Martin Jones, Mike Smith. Defence: Tyson Barrie, Brent Burns, Aaron Ekblad, Dan Hamhuis (A), Jake Muzzin, David Savard, Patrick Wiercioch. Forwards: Sean Couturier, Sidney Crosby (C), Matt Duchene, Cody Eakin, Jordan Eberle, Tyler Ennis, Claude Giroux, Taylor Hall, Nathan MacKinnon, Ryan O’Reilly, Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza (A), Tyler Toffoli.
Goaltenders: Reto Berra, Leonardo Genoni. Defence: Eric Blum, Patrick Geering, Robin Grossmann, Timo Helbling, Roman Josi (A), Mark Streit (C). Forwards: Cody Almond, Andres Ambühl (A), Matthias Bieber, Simon Bodenmann, Damien Brunner, Kevin Fiala, Denis Hollenstein, Kevin Romy, Reto Schäppi, Reto Suri, Morris Trachsler, Julian Walker, Dino Wieser.