It was the first upset of the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship, and it was a biggie. Switzerland defeated Sweden 2-0 on Wednesday in Victoria to advance to the semi-finals.
Yannick Brüschweiler and Luca Wyss scored for Switzerland, which will face the winner of the Canada-Finland quarter-final at Rogers Arena on Friday.
Swiss goalie Luca Hollenstein shone with his second shutout of the tournament, while Sweden’s Samuel Ersson suffered his first defeat. Final shots on goal favoured Sweden 41-35.
The Swiss have only defeated Sweden in an elimination game at the World Juniors once before – 21 years ago. Famously backstopped by David Aebischer, they edged Sweden 2-1 on Björn Christen’s quarter-final shootout goal and went on to win their lone bronze medal in 1998.
After hard-fought losses to the Czechs, Canada, and Russia in Vancouver, coach Christian Wohlwend’s hard-working Swiss team finally got rewarded with a win over a medal contender.
The Juniorkronorna, who settled for silver last year against Canada in Buffalo, will go home empty-handed this year. British Columbia, apparently, is not Sweden’s lucky Canadian province. It’s the first time they haven’t finished in the top four since the 2006 tournament in Vancouver. That was also the last time they were shut out in a quarter-final (1-0 by Finland’s Tuukka Rask).
After playing without five flu-afflicted skaters in a 4-1 win over Kazakhstan on New Year’s Eve, the Swedes iced a full roster for this do-or-die game. But they didn’t appear to be operating at full tilt
Coach Tomas Montén’s team extended Sweden’s record preliminary-round winning streak to 48 games, but that’s no consolation now. Sweden’s only two World Junior gold medals came in 1981 (Germany) and 2012 (Calgary).
Sweden entered this quarter-final with the tournament’s third-best power play (4-for-13, 30.7 percent), but it was silenced by the aggressive Swiss penalty-kill.
At 15:23 of the first period, Brüschweiler got his second of the tournament on a dazzling solo rush from his own zone. He used defenceman Swedish Filip Westerlund as a decoy and surprised Ersson with a high glove-side shot from just above the left faceoff circle.
In the second period, both goalies put on a skills clinic. Toward the end of a Swedish man advantage, Hollenstein came across to rob Lucas Elvenes with a glove stop, and then Ersson foiled Valentin Nussbaumer coming out of the sin bin on a solo jaunt.
At 13:59, the Swiss went up 2-0. They whacked away frantically next to Ersson’s left post and Wyss squeezed it in, launching himself joyfully into the glass afterwards. It was Wyss’s first game. He had a concussion in the pre-tournament phase and was just registered for the quarter-final. The undrafted 19-year-old Langnau forward is making his World Junior debut.
Now you could smell an upset brewing.
In the third period, the Swedes struggled to bear down on their chances. You could tell a comeback wasn’t going to happen when Fabian Zetterlund was caught from behind by Swiss defenceman Tim Berni on a great chance coming out of the penalty box, and Zetterlund’s subsequent set-up for Rickard Hugg also failed.
In the dying stages, Montén pulled Ersson for the extra attacker, but to no avail. And after hearing their national anthem, the Swiss formed a circle at centre ice and joyfully clapped in unison as the fans cheered.
Sweden’s three best players of the tournament were honoured: Erik Brännström, Emil Bemström, and Samuel Ersson.
The last time these two sides faced off in the playoff round, Sweden hammered Switzerland 11-4 in the 2010 World Junior bronze medal game in Saskatoon. The Swiss last beat Sweden 4-3 on 3 January 2004 in a relegation round game.
02:48 – 🇸🇪 PEN – Ginning, tripping
10:07 – 🇨🇭 PEN – Verboon, checking from behind minor + 10 min. misconduct
11:27 – 🇸🇪 PEN – Brännström, interference
15:23 – 🇨🇭 GOAL – Brüschweiler (Burger)
20:52 – 🇨🇭 PEN – Tanner, tripping
23:55 – 🇨🇭 PEN – team, too many players
30:17 – 🇸🇪 PEN – Gustafsson, tripping
31:59 – 🇸🇪 PEN – team, too many players
33:59 – 🇨🇭 GOAL – Wyss (Schmid, Verboon)
41:53 – 🇨🇭 PEN – Nussbaumer, delay of game
42:46 – 🇸🇪 PEN – Lundeström, hooking
46:52 – 🇨🇭 PEN – Wyss, hooking
50:19 – 🇸🇪 PEN – Zetterlund, elbowing
60:00 – 🇸🇪 PEN – Bemström, throwing a stick game misconduct
W: 🇨🇭 Hollenstein (41-41)
L: 🇸🇪 Ersson (33-35)
SHOTS ON GOAL
🇨🇭 12+14+9 = 35
🇸🇪 13+9+19 = 41
🇨🇭 Goaltenders: Luca Jan Hollenstein, Akira Schmid. Defence: David Aebischer, Davyd Baradun, Tim Berni, Gianluca Burger, Nico Gross (A), Simon Le Coultre, Janis Moser. Forwards: Yannick Brüschweiler, Nando Eggenberger (C), Jeremi Gerber, Philipp Kurashev (A), Marco Lehmann, Sven Leuenberger, Nicolas Müller, Valentin Nussbaumer, Sandro Schmid, Justin Sigrist, Ramon Tanner, Matthew Verboon, Luca Wyss.
🇸🇪 Goaltenders: Olle Eriksson Ek, Samuel Ersson. Defence: Adam Boqvist, Philip Broberg, Erik Brännström (C), Adam Ginning, Nils Lundkvist, Rasmus Sandin, Filip Westerlund. Forwards: Emil Bemström, Oskar Bäck, Lucas Elvenes, Samuel Fagemo, David Gustafsson, Pontus Holmberg, Rickard Hugg (A), Filip Hållander, Isac Lundeström (A), Jacob Olofson, Filip Svenningsson, Johan Södergran, Fabian Zetterlund.
|🇨🇭 SWITZERLAND||vs.||SWEDEN (C) 🇸🇪|
|Last Title||reign ends
(+ 1 tie)
|First IHLC Meeting (SWE vs. SUI)
🇸🇪 SWE 8-1 SUI 🇨🇭 – 12/26/1977 – WJC – Cornwall 🇨🇦
|Previous IHLC Meeting (SWE vs. SUI)
🇸🇪 SWE 4-2 SUI 🇨🇭 – 12/28/2016 – WJC – Montréal 🇨🇦
|Last IHLC Game
🇸🇪 SWE 4-1 KAZ 🇰🇿 – 12/31/2018 – WJC – Victoria 🇨🇦
|Next IHLC Game
🇫🇮 FIN 6-1 SUI 🇨🇭 – 01/04/2019 – WJC – Vancouver 🇨🇦