Stéphane Da Costa needed just 27 seconds to wrench away the International Hockey Lineal Championship from Switzerland, potting in a nifty backhand to take a 3-2 overtime victory in Cergy-Pontoise.
Early penalty trouble for France put the Eisgenossen ahead in the first period, with Damien Riat blasting a feed from the point glove side past French keeper Florian Hardy to take the 1-0 advantage. Hardy and Les Bleus, however, managed to stave off three power plays, and while outshooting the Swiss 14-8 on the frame, still trailed after one.
A pair of goals midway through the second put France back on top, with Teddy Trabichet chippoing in a loose rebound through a crowd past Swiss netminder Lukas Flüeler to even things up at 1-1. Damien Fleury struck six minutes later, walking in from the corner and tapping in a backhand that very slowly squeaked through the five hole, so slow in fact it required a review, but the goal held and France held a 2-1 lead after two.
But the lead would hold a measly ten seconds into the third, with Chris Baltisberger evening things up with a similar goal to Riat’s, a slapper from the point that beat Hardy on a screen. While each side exchanged penalties later in the period, both Hardy and Flüeler held their ground to send the game to overtime. But it took the aforementioned Da Costa almost no time to net the winner, as the Swiss defence was too distracted with Fleury behind the net, who left a beautiful drop pass for Da Costa, who deked and backhanded the winner past a frustrated Flüeler to take the victory.
With the victory, France captures just their ninth International Hockey Lineal Championship in their 100+ year history, their first title since upsetting Canada at the 2014 World Championships. The game reverses the result yesterday’s 4-3 Swiss victory in Amiens, and marks just the second French win in seven games against Switzerland for the IHLC, their only other win being at the 1993 World Championships. France will now carry the IHLC into the second leg of the Euro Hockey Challenge, meeting Russia on enemy ice in Chelyabinsk for a two-game series.
01:33 – PEN – Schäppi, holding
13:58 – PEN – Ville, interference
16:36 – PEN – S. Da Costa, slashing
16:44 – PP GOAL – Riat (Almond, Herzog)
19:42 – PEN – Fleury, interference
19:42 – PEN – Fleury, roughing double minor
19:42 – PEN – C. Baltisberger, roughing double minor
26:39 – GOAL – Trabichet (Ville, T. Da Costa)
32:37 – GOAL – Fleury (Valier, S. Da Costa)
40:10 – GOAL – C. Baltisberger (Geering)
43:22 – PEN – Romy, tripping
44:20 – PEN – Fleury, interference
57:42 – PEN – T. Da Costa, roughing
57:42 – PEN – Almond, high sticking / roughing double minor
60:27 – GOAL – S. Da Costa (Fleury)
W: Hardy (22-24)
L: Flüeler (30-33)
SHOTS ON GOAL
14+12+6+1 = 33
8+9+7+0 = 24
Goaltenders: Florian Hardy, Sebastian Ylönen. Defence: Kévin Dusseau, Kévin Hecquefeuille (C), 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, Peter Valier, Gabin Ville.
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.