In a game that Switzerland needed to win in order to secure a spot in the next round, they found out the hard way what happens when you give Sweden chances on the power play, losing 5-1 to the powerful Swedes. The winning side scored four power play goals and their netminder, Linus Soderstrom, made 21 saves on 22 shots. Yannick Rathgeb had Switzerland’s lone goal, as well as a big penalty, while Ludovic Waeber made 34 saves on 39 shots.
Switerland’s Kevin Fiala showed off his skill early in the game when he took the puck from William Nylander, who had the puck in his skates after a bad pass, and flew up the ice to generate a scoring chance. While Sweden held the puck in the Swiss end for a good majority of the opening three and a half minutes, Switzerland scored the game’s first goal after Yannick Rathgeb’s fluttering shot fools Linus Soderstrom, 1-0 Swiss. The Swiss nearly got the game’s first power play as well, when Timo Meier and Axel Holmstrom collided, Holmstrom’s stick came up and caught Meier in the face, drawing blood. The referees, however, did not catch the stick in the face, so no call. Sweden, instead, received the first power play. Michael Hugli tripped up Lucas Wallmark, giving Sweden a chance to tie it up. Sweden wasted no time knotting up the score as Adrian Kempe’s wrist shot beat Ludovic Waeber, 1-1. A turnover by Sweden almost costed them after Anton Blidh coughed it up in his own end, but the shot from Tim Wieser, right in front of Soderstrom, went over the net. After some back-and-forth play, with Sweden pushing possession a bit more, the Swiss got their first power play of the day. While Switzerland didn’t test Soderstrom much on the power play, they were able to set up their formation and hold the puck in for a minute or so, but Sweden did kill the penalty. In the dying seconds of the first period, Nylander created a scoring chance. He controlled the puck into the Swiss end, stopped, found a trailing Holmstrom, who had a wide open lane to fire a shot on goal, bu Waeber made the stop as the period ended 1-1. Sweden held the lead in shots on goal at 10-8.
Sweden came out strong to begin the second, making Ludovic Waeber stop some tough shots, so it was no surprise that they drew their second power play, Michael Hugli went to the box for holding the stick. Just as they did on their first power play, Sweden didn’t waste much time. William Nylander drew two defenders down low and made a nifty backhand pass out to a wide open Oskar Lindblom, and his wrist shot beat Waeber, 2-1 Swedes. Not long after, Sweden took a two goal lead. Nylander came down the wing, made a cross-ice pass to Robert Hagg, whose shot deflects off of Mirco Muller in front, and Lindblom is right there to pot his second of the game, 3-1. Switzerland did get a chance to get back into the game, however, when Andreas Englund took an interference penalty, but the Swedes killed off yet another penalty to maintain their two goal lead. Sweden would then get a fantastic opportunity to extend their lead when Yannick Rathgeb hit Anton Blidh in the head, and late. So, he received a game misconduct and Sweden got a five-minute power play for charging. With about two minutes left in the five-minute power play, Oskar Lindblom tipped home his third of the game, a natural hat-trick, to make it 4-1. Just 26 seconds later, Sweden converted once again on their extended power play as this time it was Jens Looke who scored, making it 5-1 with the power play continuing. William Nylander tried to make it 6-1 with a fantastic rush up ice, deking out a Swiss defender and firing a shot on Waeber. Finally, the five-minute penalty ended, but more penalties were to come. After Leon Bristedt jammed at a puck that Waeber had, a couple of Swiss players took exception. When the dust settled, Bristedt and Timo Meier got offsetting penalties (Bristedt for slashing, Meier for high-sticking.) During the four-on-four, Adrian Kempe kicked the stick of a Swiss player and that earned him an interference penalty. Switzerland couldn’t score on their power play as time expired on the second period, so they began the third with the man advantage. The lead in shots on goal was held by Sweden at 18-6, as you would expect with them getting a five-minute power play.
To open the final period, Sweden killed off the Kempe interference penalty, but it wouldn’t stay at even strength for very long as Lucas Wallmark took a hooking call. About 30 seconds into the power play, Sweden took another penalty, William Lagesson for holding, so the Swedish penalty kill would have to go 1:30 down two men. Just as the first penalty was ending, Linus Soderstrom made a wonderful pad stop on Noah Rod to keep the penalty kill streak alive, as Sweden killed off both penalties. Sweden continued to look for their sixth goal, as Oskar Lindblom dug away for a puck after Ludovic Waeber made the stop, which drew a crowd around the Swedish forward. With about six minutes to go, neither side had buried another goal but both teams were still competing despite the score. Neither team would end up scoring or doing anything of note before the final buzzer sounded as Sweden took the 5-1 win, going into the medal rounds. The final shot count had Sweden with the 39-22 lead. The players of the game from either team, as voted on by the coaches, were Noah Rod (SWI) and Oskar Lindblom (SWE.)
For Sweden, this was the best they have looked so far. They limited their turnovers, though they were still an issue at times, their power play was 4-for-4 and they continued their perfect penalty kill streak, now 13-for-13. With the win, Sweden goes perfect in the group stage at 4-0-0-0 and go another year being perfect in the group stage, having won an insane 32 in a row in the group round. Swedish players who stood out for me were Oskar Lindblom, William Nylander, Linus Soderstrom, and Lucas Wallmark. There weren’t many bad players for Sweden in this one, really.
On the Swiss side, as long as the Czech Republic doesn’t win in regulation, they will be into the next round and avoid relegation. In this game, it was their penalty kill and lack of discipline that killed them in the end. Expect captain Yannick Rathgeb to receive some reprimand for his hit on Anton Blidh. Kevin Fiala and Timo Meier stood out for me on the Swiss side.
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