Switzerland opened their 2017 Euro Hockey Challenge campaign on a winning note, using a wild second period to wrench out a 4-3 victory over France to retain the International Hockey Lineal Championship.
Pius Suter got the Eisgenossen on the board early with a goal only 36 seconds into the proceeding, beating Niklas Schlegel for the opening tally. But the Swiss ran into penalty trouble late in the frame, and with both Christian Marti and Etienne Froidevaux in the box, captain Laurent Meunier was able to strike with the 5-on-3 advantage, beating Ronan Quemener to tie the game at 1-1 after one.
Vincent Praplan struck early in the period, needing only half the time Suter did in the first to retake the lead, beating Schlegel 19 seconds into the period to take the 2-1 advantage. The teams struck back and forth blows, with France managing to keep tying the game – first it was a power play tally from Valentin Claireaux. Romain Loeffel scored four minutes later to put the score at 3-2, but it was Claireaux again on the power play to put things back at 3-3.
Cody Almond who put Switzerland ahead 4-3 with 2:02 remaining in the second period, but this time the Swiss defence were able to hold Les Bleus back, keeping them off the scoresheet in the third, and holding them to only seven shots, despite a power play chance midway through the period. A late penalty to Stéphane Da Costa all but sealed the win for the Swiss, with the scoreline of 4-3 holding for the entire third period.
With the win, Switzerland retains the International Hockey Lineal Championship, their 16th title, which they won from Belarus in the Swiss Challenge finals back in December. This improves Switzerland’s overall IHLC record to 5-1 against France, in their first meeting since a win at the 2011 World Championships. This also marks the first IHLC game to be held in France in a quarter century, the last being the 1992 Olympic Gold Medal Game in Méribel. These two meet again tomorrow in Cergy-Pontoise for the second half of their double-header for the IHLC.
00:36 – GOAL – Suter (Praplan)
12:12 – PEN – Claireaux, cross checking
12:12 – PEN – Herren, tripping
15:09 – PEN – Marti, cross checking
15:31 – PEN – Froidevaux, hooking
15:52 – PP2 GOAL – Meunier (S. Da Costa, Hecquefeuille)
20:19 – GOAL – Praplan (Romy)
23:47 – PEN – Manavian, roughing
23:47 – PEN – Loeffel, hooking
23:47 – PEN – Herzog, roughing
25:25 – PP GOAL – Claireaux (Hecquefeuille, Valier)
29:19 – GOAL – Loeffel
32:00 – PEN – Suter, tripping
32:55 – PP GOAL – Claireaux (Fleury, Hecquefeuille)
33:31 – PEN – T. Da Costa, tripping
37:58 – GOAL – Almond (Herzog, Herren)
48:21 – PEN – Geering, high sticking
57:13 – PEN – S. Da Costa, cross checking
W: Schlegel (15-18)
L: Quemener (26-30)
SHOTS ON GOAL
10+10+10 = 30
4+7+7 = 18
Goaltenders: Lukas Flüeler, Niklas Schlegel. Defence: Phil Baltisberger, Lukas Frick, Patrick Geering (C), Joël Genazzi, Romain Loeffel, Christian Marti, Dave Sutter. Forwards: Cody Almond, Chris Baltisberger, Matthias Bieber, Etienne Froidevaux, Yannick Herren, Fabrice Herzog, Vincent Praplan, Damien Riat, Kevin Romy, Reto Schäppi, Julian Schmutz, Pius Suter.
Goaltenders: Florian Hardy, Ronan Quemener. Defence:Kévin Dusseau, Kévin Hecquefeuille, Jonathan Janil, Nicolas Leclerc, Antonin Manavian, Maxime Moisand, Teddy Trabichet. Forwards: Valentin Claireaux, Stéphane Da Costa, Teddy Da Costa, Floran Douay, Damien Fleury, Romain Gutierrez, Vincent Kara, Maxime Lacroix, Bastien Maïa, Rudy Matima, Laurent Meunier (C), Peter Valier, Gabin Ville.