Canada got goals from seven scorers and motored to a 7-2 win over Switzerland to clinch Group A. Five of the goals came from the crease area via rebounds.
In fact, if you added the total distance the puck travelled for the seven Canadian goals, it wouldn’t be more than 25 metres. Nonetheless, they all count.
“We just tried to keep it simple and bring as many pucks as we could at the net, jump on those second and third chances,” said Sean Couturier, who led the stats brigade with a goal and two assists. “Tonight we had a few goals like that. That’s what we need to do to keep going forward.”
The seven goals was the most scored by Canada over the Swiss in more than 16 years.
“We’ve got a team that can roll four lines pretty easily,” said Tyler Seguin. “It’s very evident on our roster. It’s easy to put a bunch of stars together, but you’ve got to come together as a team, and we’ve done a good job of that thus far.”
The win assures Canada of first place and a date with the fourth place team in Group B in a game to be played in Prague on Thursday.
Switzerland can finish no higher than fourth but is guaranteed a quarter-finals berth unless Austria beats both Germany and Canada in regulation time on Monday and Tuesday. That brace of wins would put Austria in and eliminate the Swiss if they don’t earn points from the last game against the Czech Republic.
“That’s not the way we expected to play,” admitted Swiss forward Kevin Romy. “We were lacking energy maybe a little bit to put the Canadians under pressure. We know Canada has a good team. For us to win the hockey game, we just needed to put them under pressure. We’re a fast team, and I think we were lacking a bit of speed tonight.”
It was a strange first period. Canada scored very early and very late, but in between Switzerland was dominant. The Canadians opened the scoring just 53 seconds after puck drop when Jake Muzzin’s point shot trickled through the pads of Reto Berra and was nudged over the goal line by Tyler Seguin.
But the Swiss were determined not to let Canada waltz to an easy win. They peppered Mike Smith with some decent shots and believed they were rewarded with a goal at 5:10 off a mad scramble in the crease. Video review showed the puck hadn’t crossed the goal line.
Undaunted, the Swiss continued to press and tied the game at 6:21 when Morris Trachsler fired a shot at Smith from behind the icing line. The puck went off the goalie and in, a bad error, to be sure.
Despite their superior play, the Swiss couldn’t capitalize on several defensive errors by the Canadians. Seguin coughed the puck up at the Swiss blue line, allowing Andres Ambühl to walk in alone. He snapped a shot into Smith’s body, though, wasting a great chance.
Then as the period was drawing to a close, Nathan MacKinnon broke down the left wing and called for a pass. Jason Spezza obliged, and MacKinnon drilled a wicked wrist shot over the glove of Berra with only 17.6 seconds left on the clock. Canada led 2-1 in improbable fashion.
“I got lucky, I guess,” a humble MacKinnon said. “Caught the post. It turned out to be a nice shot. But don’t expect those again all the time. I just wanted to get a shot on net. It was late in the period and thankfully it went in.”
The second period was more definitive as Canada stepped up its game and sharpened its focus on defence. The result was three goals, two in the final minute. Aaron Ekblad made it 3-1 with a close-in blast at 7:59 off a nice setup from Couturier.
Then, at 18:15 the Swiss incurred a minor penalty for too many men. This in itself isn’t anything special, but it marked the fifth time in six games the Swiss have been called for six skaters (They later incurred a second such violation in the game.). Something is clearly amiss at the bench.
That call also cost the team dearly. A Sidney Crosby shot hit the post, and before Berra could locate the puck Jordan Eberle knocked it in with 59.5 seconds remaining.
Then, as time expired, Cody Eakin did much the same, knocking in a puck from the crease after Berra failed to trap a long shot. The play went to video review, which clearly showed 1.3 seconds on the clock as the puck went in.
Damien Brunner made the score a bit closer at 2:17 of the third off a bad giveaway by Matt Duchene, but Canada made it 6-2 when Couturier knocked in another rebound, this off a Tyler Toffoli shot.
An unguarded Claude Giroux knocked in another rebound at 17:08 to close out the scoring.
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.
| CANADA (C)
(+ 2 ties)
|First IHLC Meeting (CAN vs. SUI)
CAN 33-0 SUI – 01/30/1924 – OG – Chamonix
|Previous IHLC Meeting (CAN vs. SUI)
CAN 4-0 SUI – 05/06/2014 – EX – Zürich
|Last IHLC Game
CAN 4-3 FRA – 05/09/2015 – WC – Prague
|Next IHLC Game
CAN 10-1 AUT – 05/12/2015 – WC – Prague