Switzerland won a tightly-fought game against Russia on Friday solely on the power play, eking out a narrow 2-1 victory to win the first leg of their Euro Challenge series, and capture the International Hockey Lineal Championship.
Russia also took full advantage of the power play, and took the early lead in such a situation, with Anton Burdasov wiring a wrister from the top of the slot over the glove of Lukas Flüeler to take the 1-0 lead on the power play just 5:26 into the period. Russia would successfully kill off their only penalty of the period to take the lead to intermission, leading in shots 10-7 on the frame.
But Russia’s penalty troubles would highlight the second period, first with Bogdan Kiselevich being tossed from the game for a dangerous check to the head of Damien Brunner, followed by a holding penalty to Igor Ozhiganov that led to the equalizer. A deflected pass from behind the net by Denis Hollenstein landed on the stick of Vincent Praplan, who, left alone in front of Russian keeper Ilya Sorokin, made no mistake zipping in the puck to tie things at 1-1.
The Eisgenossen went full throttle in the third period, and despite being shorthanded twice early in the period, kept the pressure up on Sorokin and the Russian defence. And when Mikhail Naumenkov took a holding penalty midway through the third, the Swiss converted on the opportunity, with Praplan again being left open to strike on Sorokin, this time blasting a deflected shot, inadvertently blocked by teammate Kevin Romy, past Sorokin to take the lead for the first time. And with just 5:38 remaining in the game, they would keep said lead and cruise to victory, outshooting Russia 16-10 in the final frame.
With the win, Switzerland wrenches the International Hockey Lineal Championship away from Russia to capture their 17th title, giving them back the title they held at the start of the Euro Hockey Challenge against France. This marks the first ever IHLC victory for Switzerland over Russia and the Soviet Union in 15 attempts, and the first meeting since a 4-2 Russia victory at the 2009 World Championships in Bern. These two will meet again tomorrow afternoon in Biel, with the winner taking the IHLC into the final leg of the Euro Hockey Challenge en route to the World Championships.
03:47 – PEN – Gennazi, slashing
05:26 – PP GOAL – Burdasov (Lyubushkin, Arzamastsev)
17:03 – PEN – Ozhiganov, hooking
21:12 – PEN – Kiselevich, checking to the head major + 20 min. misconduct
31:58 – PEN – Ozhiganov, holding
33:50 – PP GOAL – Praplan (Hollenstein)
42:02 – PEN – Ambühl, roughing
48:44 – PEN – Almond, high sticking
52:23 – PEN – Naumenkov, holding
54:12 – PP GOAL – Praplan (Romy, Hollenstein)
54:29 – PEN – Lyubimov, slashing
59:54 – PEN – Almond, hooking
W: Flüeler (27-28)
L: Sorokin (32-34)
SHOTS ON GOAL
7+11+16 = 34
10+8+10 = 28
Goaltenders: Lukas Flüeler, Niklas Schlegel. Defence: Philippe Furrer (A), Patrick Geering, Joël Genazzi, Fabian Heldner, Romain Loeffel, Claude-Curdin Paschoud, Dave Sutter. Forwards: Cody Almond, Andres Ambühl (C), Chris Baltisberger, Damien Brunner, Gaëtan Haas, Fabrice Herzog, Denis Hollenstein, Denis Malgin, Vincent Praplan, Damien Riat, Kevin Romy (A), Reto Schäppi, Pius Suter.
Goaltenders: Andrei Kareyev, Ilya Sorokin. Defence: Zakhar Arzamastsev, Vladislav Gavrikov, Bogdan Kiselevich, Ilya Lyubushkin, Andrei Mironov (A), Mikhail Naumenkov, Igor Ozhiganov, Ivan Provorov. Forwards: Sergei Andronov (A), Anton Burdasov, Anatoli Golyshev, Roman Lyubimov, Maxim Mamin, Valeri Nichushkin, Stepan Sannikov (C), Maxim Shalunov, Sergei Shumakov, Andrei Svetlakov, Ivan Telegin, Vladimir Tkachyov.