Switzerland exacted a small measure of revenge for the defeat they faced from Slovakia to conclude November’s Deutschland Cup, winning the Slovakia Cup from the home nation (on home ice, no less) with a 4-3 win to retain the International Hockey Lineal Championship.
Similar to yesterday’s opening match against Belarus, the Eisgenossen struck first and struck early, taking a 2-0 lead within the opening ten minutes on goals from Damien Riat and Dave Sutter, both notching their second goals in as many days and games. Robin Leone, a late addition to the team, even added a tally midway through the second period to take a commanding 3-0 lead.
But Slovakia roared back, much to the delight of the hometown Nitra crowd, late in the second, notching a rapid-fire pair of goals from Martin Gernát and Martin Bakoš in just 66 seconds, stunning Swiss keeper Luca Boltshauser and putting the home team within one. Despite outshooting the Swiss 26-12 in the final two periods, however, Boltshauser managed to hold the fort through the third period, allowing for Luca Fazzini to strike the 4-2 blow against Jaroslav Janus to ensure the victory, despite a late goal from Peter Čerešňák to put the final score at 4-3.
With the win, Switzerland retains their 16th International Hockey Lineal Championship, which they won from Belarus in December at the Swiss Challenge, and then retained with a second victory against Belarus yesterday in Nitra. The win evens Switzerland’s IHLC record against Slovakia to 2-2 all-time, their last meeting being the aforementioned 4-1 Slovakia victory at the Deutschland Cup in November. The win now guarantees the IHLC will follow Switzerland to France this April, where Switzerland will meet Les Bleus in a two-game Euro Hockey Challenge series, with the IHLC up for grabs not once, but twice.
01:27 – GOAL – Riat (Sutter, Zangger)
04:43 – PEN – P. Baltisberger, slashing
06:31 – PEN – Paschoud, hooking
08:49 – GOAL – Sutter (Leone, Senteler)
15:21 – PEN – Macík, charging
23:54 – PEN – Guerra, holding
28:04 – GOAL – Leone
35:50 – GOAL – Gernát (Cingel)
36:56 – GOAL – Bakoš (Šedivý)
40:57 – PEN – Schmutz, roughing
40:57 – PEN – Čajkovský, roughing
46:23 – GOAL – Fazzini (Hofmann)
55:08 – GOAL – Čerešňák (Šťastný, Lušňák)
W: Boltshauser (28-31)
L: Janus (16-20)
SHOTS ON GOAL
8+6+6 = 20
5+15+11 = 31
Goaltenders: Luca Boltshauser, Gilles Senn. Defence: Phil Baltisberger, Michael Fora, Samuel Guerra, Fabian Heldner, Christian Marti (A), Claude Paschoud, Dave Sutter. Forwards: Yannick-Lennart Albrecht, Chris Baltisberger (C), Luca Fazzini, Yannick Herren, Gregory Hofmann (A), Mauro Jörg, Robin Leone, Damien Riat, Julian Schmutz, Sven Senteler, Samuel Walser, Sandro Zangger.
Goaltenders: Jaroslav Janus, Branislav Konrád. Defence: Michal Čajkovský (C), Peter Čerešňák, Martin Gernát, Adam Jánošík, Eduard Šedivý, Ivan Švarný (A), Juraj Valach. Forwards: Martin Bakoš, Dávid Buc, Lukáš Cingel, Tomáš Hrnka, Libor Hudáček, Andrej Kudrna, Patrik Lušňák, Radoslav Macík, Dávid Skokan, Marek Slovák, Andrej Šťastný, Jakub Suja.