Canada didn’t seem to care that the Swiss team was playing in front of a home crowd, grabbing the 4-1 victory on Saturday afternoon.
Canada’s first period performance at this tournament hasn’t been the most stellar after two games. After allowing three goals to Latvia on Thursday, a good start needed to be on their agenda if they wanted to secure a victory against the stronger Swiss. They didn’t get a huge lead in the first, but Canadian star Matthew Barzal would pot a power-play goal four minutes into the first, with assists from fellow Canadian star Mitchell Stephens and Thomas Chabot.
Despite the Canadian star power, the Swiss wouldn’t back down. The team took eight shots in the opening frame, just one less than their rivals at the other end were able to grab. It did help that the Canadians took three penalties near the middle of the frame, but Evan Cormier came up strong on every PP chance by the Swiss, keeping the one goal lead heading into the intermission.
Two minutes into the second, Canada would make it 2-0 thanks to another goal by Barzal. The Seattle Thunderbirds star, who comes in as the top ranked 2015 NHL Draft prospect from Canada at 9th, fired the puck towards the net, only to have Jonas Siegenthaler tip it past his own goaltender and in.
The Canadians would make it 3-0 at the halfway point of the contest. The Canadians’ powerplay would strike again as some solid passing saw the puck land on the stick of Deven Sideroff, whose shot was stopped by Joren van Pottelberghe thanks to some solid lateral movement. van Pottelberghe wasn’t able to make a second good save, however, as Nicolas Roy recorded his third goal of the tournament after jamming home the rebound below the Swiss’ netminder’s glove.
The Swiss would pot one before the end of the second. With two minutes left, Dominik Diem made the hometown crowd happy with his own power-play goal, ending Cormier’s shutout big just before the intermission. Diem, a little-known prospect for North American fans, is currently listed as the 76th top European skater by the NHL’s Central Scouting Service.
Canada wasted no time scoring early in the third, scoring just 30 seconds into the period. This time, Anthony Beauviller picked up a Barzal pass from just outside the left hash marks and scored Canada’s third power-play goal of the game to make it 4-1.
Cormier’s first international appearance was definitely an impressive one. After Zachary Sawchenko allowed six goals to the weak Latvians, Cormier was called upon to help rebound his team defensively, a task that proved to be easy enough for the Saginaw Spirit puck stopper. His best save of the game came about halfway through the third when he made a nice pad stop on Marco Miranda’s breakaway, holding on to the three goal lead.
The reffing throughout the game appeared to be quite solid, but a late third period call against the Swiss may have been one of the more stranger calls you’ll ever see. With three minutes remaining, Livio Stadler received a two minute penalty for tripping Jansen Harkins. However, video evidence showed that Harkins tripped over the puck all by himself and wasn’t even touched. The penalty to the Swiss didn’t really mean anything in the end, as Canada was able to keep the 4-1 victory to stay undefeated after two games.
With just two preliminary round games left for the Canadians, Canada will look to go 3-0 with a win over the Czech Republic tomorrow afternoon at 12:45pm EST. The Czech’s, considered to be one of the stronger teams in the tournament, lost 6-1 to Finland on Wednesday before taking down Latvia 4-1 yesterday.
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