Archive for OG – Switzerland

United States 2 – Switzerland 0 : Match Report

United States forward ZACH PARISE (9) pops the puck past prone Swiss goalie JONAS HILLER into the net to break a third-period scoreless tie in the quarterfinals at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Looking on are Swiss forward THIERRY PATERLINI (23) and captain MARK STREIT (7) as well as United States attackers JAMIE LANGENBRUNNER (15) ane PAUL STASTNY (26). (Jukka Rautio/HHOF-IIHF Images)

United States forward ZACH PARISE (9) pops the puck past prone Swiss goalie JONAS HILLER into the net to break a third-period scoreless tie in the quarterfinals at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Looking on are Swiss forward THIERRY PATERLINI (23) and captain MARK STREIT (7) as well as United States attackers JAMIE LANGENBRUNNER (15) ane PAUL STASTNY (26). (Jukka Rautio/HHOF-IIHF Images)

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It is never easy to defeat the same team twice at any tournament, let alone in the pressure-packed enviroment that is the Winter Olympics…

The UNITED STATES, the top overall seed following group round-robin play at the 2010 Games, would confirm that theory still holds water as they confronted SWITZERLAND in the quarterfinals at Canada Hockey Place in Vancouver.

Goaltender JONAS HILLER of the Anaheim Ducks was not at his best and had allowed three goals on 24 shots for Switzerland in the Group A round-robin game against the United States which had opened this year’s Olympic ice hockey proceedings. 

However, provided a second bite at the apple, Hiller would bring his A game for the re-match with the Americans at the quarterfinal hurdle. Which was exactly the sort of quality that Switzerland coach RALPH KRUEGER needed to receive from one of the only two National Hockey League players on his Olympic side. With Hiller in high gear, the Swiss were adequtely prepared to give the Americans a game.

To say Hiller was huge in the quarterfinals would be an understatement; the Anaheim Duck denied eighteen American shots in the first period alone. Altogether, the United States unleashed 32 shots at the Swiss goal the first two periods as compared to the eight amassed by Switzerland against American netminder RYAN MILLER of the Buffalo Sabres. And yet, as the two teams skated out for the final period of play, the score still stood where it had when the game’s first puck had originally been dropped.

While Switzerland certainly generated a few opportunities of their own on the counterattack, they were also a bit lucky, as well. United States forward PHIL KESSEL of the Toronto Maple Leafs clanked Swiss iron in the second session. And, an apparent goal at the end of the period was waved off by the referees after further review.

Hiller had made a save off a deflection from the stick of United States forward PATRICK KANE of the Chicago Black Hawks at the side of his net. With the puck in mid-air, the Swiss netminder attempted to swat the black disc to safety with his goalstick. Instead, the biscuit dropped behind Hiller and into the back of Switzerland’s net; replays clearly showed the period had expired.

“It was good to go into the (second) intermission with a 0-0 tie,” Swiss defenseman YANNICK WEBER, a farmhand in the Montreal Canadiens organization with the American Hockey League’s Hamilton Bulldogs, offered after the match. “I think it gave us some confidence.”

But, when defenseman PHILIPPE FURRER of SC Bern was sent off for tripping 1:56 into the final frame, it proved to be a penalty too far for Switzerland.

A dozen seconds had barely been counted off the clock when, on the ensuing power play, United States forward ZACH PARISE of the New Jersey Devils deflected Detroit Red Wings defenseman BRIAN RAFALSKI’s shot up and over Hiller’s glove to give the Americans a 1-0 advantage. 

The Swiss actually played their best hockey of the game in the final twenty minutes and were extremely unfortunate to not draw level shortly after the United States went to the lead. 33-year-old SANDY JEANNIN of HC Fribourg-Gotteron, appearing in his 89th career game for Switzerland at a major international tournament, created the chance. Receiving a pass in the left face-off circle, Jeannin drew Miller out of goal and beat the U.S. goaltender with a wrister, but his shot caught the far post.

The Swiss exchanged Hiller for an extra-attacker with roughly two minutes remaining, but Parise’s empty net goal twelve seconds from time provided clear passage for the United States into the semifinals at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

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UNITED STATES 2 – SWITZERLAND 0

Shots-on-goal :  United States 44 – Switzerland 19

USA goals :  Parise 2

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United States defenseman BRIAN RAFALSKI (28) sends Switzerland's ROMAN WICK (14) face-first into the boards at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

United States defenseman BRIAN RAFALSKI (28) sends Switzerland's ROMAN WICK (14) face-first into the boards at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

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United States forward PAUL STASTNY (26) of the Colorado Avalanche slams Switzerland defenseman and captain MARK STREIT of the New York Islanders into the boards at the Vancouver Games. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

United States forward PAUL STASTNY (26) of the Colorado Avalanche slams Switzerland defenseman and captain MARK STREIT of the New York Islanders into the boards at the Vancouver Games. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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United States defenseman BRIAN RAFALSKI (28) of the Detroit Red Wings derails Switzerland forward THOMAS DERUNS (18) of HC Servette Geneva at the 2010 Winter Olympics. (Matt Slocum/AP)

United States defenseman BRIAN RAFALSKI (28) of the Detroit Red Wings derails Switzerland forward THOMAS DERUNS (18) of HC Servette Geneva at the 2010 Winter Olympics. (Matt Slocum/AP)

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visuals to be continued…

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Switzerland 3 – Belarus 2 : Match Report

Switzerland's ROMANO LEMM (67) puts the game-winning penalty-shot past Belarus goaltender ANDREI MEZIN in the quarterfinal qualification round of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. Switzerland defeated Belarus 3-2 in the shootout following ten minutes of overtime. It was Lemm who had levied the winner against Norway in Switzerland's prior match. (Jukka Rautio/HHOF-IIHF Images)

Switzerland's ROMANO LEMM (67) puts the game-winning penalty-shot past Belarus goaltender ANDREI MEZIN in the quarterfinal qualification round of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. Switzerland defeated Belarus 3-2 in the shootout following ten minutes of overtime. It was Lemm who had levied the winner against Norway in Switzerland's prior match. (Jukka Rautio/HHOF-IIHF Images)

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Anyone familiar with the match history of BELARUS and SWITZERLAND could have guessed what to expect for the quarterfinal qualification clash at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver — a very low-scoring affair to be decided by a single goal.

Indeed, three of the past four contests between Belarus and Switzerland at major international tournaments prior to the meeting in Vancouver had produced three-goal games; the other match was a 2-0 result.

Switzerland had won four of the past five encounters at the majors, including a 2-1 victory over the Belarussians at the 2002 Winter Olympics. Oddly enough at Salt Lake City, however, it was Belarus and not the Swiss who advanced out of Group B in the preliminary round into the final Olympic tournament. Belarus went on to claim Sweden’s scalp in the quarterfinals, of course.

So with this background was the puck dropped for the first of the four quarterfinal qualification matches in Vancouver and, against the percentages of history, a goal was promptly scored.

From his own defensive zone, Belarus rearguard VIKTOR KOSTYUCHENOK of Spartak Moscow sent a home run pass to ALEXEI KALYUZHNY of Dynamo Moscow at the Switzerland blueline. Although the pass was dead on, Kalyuzhny allowed the vulcanized rubber to get away from his stick and run straight in on Swiss goaltender JONAS HILLER of the Anaheim Ducks. Hiller had plenty of time and space to eat the biscuit, but somehow permitted the puck bounce off his goalstick nevertheless.

Kalyuzhny swooped in for a backhand attempt which was saved by Hiller, but the Swiss goalie lost sight of the puck in underneath his pads. The heavily experienced and obviously alert Belarus forward, despite losing his balance, dove head first and stabbed the disc through Hiller’s pads into the net. Switzerland protested but to no avail; Belarus were in front 1-0 after just 59 seconds. 

The Swiss leveled matters at the 12:25 mark of the first period after Kalyuzhny had been sent to the box for Belarus. Minnesota Wild draft pick JULIEN SPRUNGER of HC Fribourg-Gotteron scored a pretty goal on the power play for his second tally in two games for Switzerland. Sprunger swatted a puck mid-air past Belarus goaltender ANDREI MEZIN after storming down the middle of the slot to receive a pass from Ottawa Senators draft pick ROMAN WICK of EHC Kloten. 

Switzerland, who had posted a 16-7 edge in shots-on-goal for the opening period, went to their first lead of the contest seven minutes into the second period, again on the power play.

Canadian-born HNAT DOMENICHELLI of HC Lugano scored his first goal of the 2010 Vancouver Games after a shot from the point by Swiss captain MARK STREIT of the New York Islanders changed directions a few times and found the former National Hockey Leaguer alone all in front. Experienced Belarussian defenseman and captain RUSLAN SALEI, who had himself scored Belarus’ game-winning-goal versus Germany, appeared to lose track of the 33-year-old veteran Domenichelli.

Despite being outshot 26-11, however, Belarus held the fort in large part due to the efforts of the 35-year-old Mezin in net. The veteran netminder, who had played 59 games for Belarus at eleven major international tournaments heading into Vancouver, was preferred by national team coach MIKHAIL ZAKHAROV over VITALI KOVAL, who had kicked out 37 shots in the 5-3 win over Germany. Making his 14th career start at his third Winter Olympic Games, Mezin would ultimately finish with 40 saves for Belarus.

Accustomed to being under pressure at these Vancouver Games, the Belarussians again counterattacked for the tying goal with 4:18 remaining in the second period. Belarus again profited from a fortuitous bounce. Defenseman NIKOLAI STASENKO of Russian club Amur Khabarovsk sent a wrist shot from the point goal-bound which ricocheted off Belarus forward ALEXEI UGAROV of Russian club HK MVD Balashikha straight to the Belarus coach’s son all alone at the side of the net.     

KONSTANTIN ZAKHAROV of Dynamo Minsk, former farmhard of the St. Louis Blues, gleefully shot the puck into the wide open net to boost Belarus to a 2-2 draw.

What followed was more than half a game (34:12 to be precise) of shutout hockey delivered by the two goaltenders Hiller and Mezin. And so a shootout was necessary to determine who should advance to the quarterfinal round to face the United States in the quarterfinal round proper. 

THOMAS DERUNS of HC Servette Geneva and ROMANO LEMM of HC Lugano both achieved success with Switzerland’s first two penalty-shot attempts.

DMITRI MELESHKO of Dynamo Minsk gave Belarus hope, particularly after Mezin denied Swiss forward IVO RUTHEMANN of SC Bern.

But Hiller halted SERGEI KOSTITSYN and, thus, Switzerland survived to skate another day at the ice hockey tournament at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. 

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SWITZERLAND 3 – BELARUS 2 — (aet, shootout)

Shots-on-goal :  Switzerland 42 – Belarus 22

SWITZ goals :  Sprunger, Domenichelli

BLR goals :  Kalyuzhny, Zakharov

Shootout :

SWITZ —  Deruns (1/1), Lemm (1/1), Ruthemann (0/1)

BLR —  Antonenko (0/1), Meleshko (1/1), S. Kostitsyn (0/1)

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Belarus forward ALEXEI KALYUZHNY (71) backhands his shot after Switzerland goaltender JONAS HILLER (1) mishandled the puck in the opening minute of play. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

Belarus forward ALEXEI KALYUZHNY (71) backhands his shot after Switzerland goaltender JONAS HILLER (1) mishandled the puck in the opening minute of play. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

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The veteran international Kalyuzhny (71) pokes the puck past the Swiss goaltender Hiller to give Belarus an early 1-0 lead. Unable to stop Belarus’ all-time leading scorer at major international events are Switzerland skaters SEVERIN BLINDENBACHER (5), ANDRES AMBUEHL (10) and LUCA SBISA (47). Looking on for Belarus is KONSTANTIN KOLTSOV (28), the former 1999 first round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penquins. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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Montreal Canadiens forward SERGEI KOSTITSYN (74) arrives to plead the case of Belarus as the Swiss goaltender Hiller lodges his protests with the referee. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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All eyes look to the referee; the veteran Belarussian international Kalyuzhny of Kontinental Hockey League club Dynamo Moscow is convinced he has scored. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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Kalyuzhny has scored and in the process collects his third goal of the 2010 Vancouver Games and 13th career goal for Belarus at major tournaments. Kalyuzhny, totals from Vancouver included, is the all-time leader in both assists (21) and points (34) for the Belarussian national team. (Matt Slocum/AP)

Kalyuzhny has scored and in the process collects his third goal of the 2010 Vancouver Games and 13th career goal for Belarus at major tournaments. Kalyuzhny, totals from Vancouver included, is the all-time leader in both assists (21) and points (34) for the Belarussian national team. (Matt Slocum/AP)

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to be continued…

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Switzerland 5 – Norway 4 : Match Report

Switzerland forward ROMANO LEMM (67) skates off after scoring the winning goal in overtime as defenseman TOMMY JAKOBSEN (7) sees the Norwegians' best effort at the 2010 Vancouver Games go unrewarded. (Matthew Manor/HHOF-IIHF Images)

Switzerland forward ROMANO LEMM (67) skates off after scoring the winning goal in overtime as defenseman TOMMY JAKOBSEN (7) sees the Norwegians' best effort at the 2010 Vancouver Games go unrewarded. (Matthew Manor/HHOF-IIHF Images)

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Just 52 seconds into the contest, Norwegian defenseman JONAS HOLOS desperately came sliding across to first make a skate save. The Swedish Elitserien club BK Farjestad Karstad defender then swept clear the loose rebound from in front of the goal and proceeded to cover the disc while still in the crease. A clear penalty-shot infraction which was signaled immediately by the referee, who had been right on top of the play.

After Norwegian goalkeeper PAL GROTNES denied Canadian-born former National Hockey Leaguer HNAT DOMENICHELLI of HC Lugano with his blocker, it should have clear both NORWAY and SWITZERLAND would be in for a wild time at the the final Group A round-robin match in Vancouver for the respective national sides. 

Indeed, within the next ten seconds, Switzerland’s JULIEN SPRUNGER, the former Minnesota Wild fourth-round NHL draft pick and HC Fribourg-Gotteron forward, scored anyway. This despite Grotnes’ penalty-shot save moments earlier. Following the ensuing faceoff, Sprunger swept home a backhand shot from the slot with a centered puck that Domenichelli had stolen from Norwegian MATS TRYGG, the one-time BK Farjestad Karlstad defender now with German club EC Koeln, on the goalline. 

Man of the match TORE VIKINGSTAD of German squad EC Hannover replied for Norway roughly twelve and a half minutes in, however, to square the score. Vikingstad, a one-time 6th round pick of the St. Louis Blues (1999, # 180 overall), collected a rebound in the slot and went to the backhand to beat Switzerland goaltender JONAS HILLER of the Anaheim Ducks. Significantly, the Norwegians would survive a 13-4 shot disparity for the first period.

Norway promptly took the lead roughly five and a half minutes into the second period when MADS HANSEN of Swedish Elitserien squad IF Brynas Galve slapped a puck past Grotnes from the point on the power play; approximately four minutes later, however, Swiss forward ROMAN WICK of EHC Kloten whipped home a smart pass from the attacking defenseman MATTIAS SEGER of SC Zuerich on a pretty even-strength play in the Norwegian zone involving SC Bern’s MARTIN PLUSS and captain MARK STREIT of the New York Islanders to once again tie the score.

RAFFAELE SANNITZ of HC Lugano finished off some nifty stickwork in front of goal to knock a puck out of the air past Grotnes after another setup from Seger to send Switzerland back in front with less than five minutes to play in the second period.

But Vikingstad again responded for Norway after some fancy moves and a fine centering pass from little MATS ZUCCARELLO AASEN of Swedish club Mo Do Ornskoldsvik.

Halfway through the final period, Switzerland went in front once more. A fine cross-ice pass on the power play by Wick on the right allowed defenseman SEVERIN BLINDENBACHER of Swedish club BK Farjestad Karlsbad to one-time the puck home from the faceoff hash on the left.

And, once more, Vikingstad rescued Norway and completed his hat trick after Hiller had mishandled the puck behind his own goal. Former National Hockey Leaguer PATRICK THORESEN of Russian club Salavat Yulayev Ufa took the puck from the Swiss goaltender and passed in front to Vikingstad, who beat Hiller between the five-hole to level matters at four goals apiece with than eight minutes remaining. Thoresen, who skated for the Edmonton Oilers and the Philadelphia Flyers in the NHL, totaled three assists on the day.

And so it was off to overtime.

Switzerland’s ROMANO LEMM of HC Lugano became a national hero 2:28 into extra time when he redirected SANDY JEANNIN’s centering pass behind Grotnes for the game-winning-goal.

The 33-year-old Jeannin of HC Fribourg-Gotteron, who, along with Streit is the most experienced player for Switzerland with 84 games at major international tournaments, made a fine play after cutting across the face of goal from the right to re-send the puck back to the left for Lemm.

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SWITZERLAND 5  - NORWAY 4 — (overtime)

Shots-on-goal :  Switzerland 38 – Norway 23

SWITZ goals :  Sprunger, Wick, Sannitz, Blindenbacher, Lemm

NOR goals :  Vikingstad 3, Hansen

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Switzerland's THIERRY PATERLINI of SC Rapperswil-Jona is all set to shoot the puck into an apparently unguarded net with Norway goaltender PAL GROTNES (33) beaten less than a minute into the match in Vancouver. Note the gleeful expression on the face of Paterlini's Swiss teammate, IVO RUTHEMANN of SC Bern. (AP photo)

Switzerland's THIERRY PATERLINI of SC Rapperswil-Jona is all set to shoot the puck into an apparently unguarded net with Norway goaltender PAL GROTNES (33) beaten less than a minute into the match in Vancouver. Note the gleeful expression on the face of Paterlini's Swiss teammate, IVO RUTHEMANN of SC Bern. (AP photo)

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The skate of Norwegian defender JONAS HOLOS halts Paterlini's bid to put Switzerland in front early. (AP photo)

The skate of Norwegian defender JONAS HOLOS halts Paterlini's bid to put Switzerland in front early. (AP photo)

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Penalty Shot! The referee points to the center ice face-off dot and awards Switzerland a penalty shot as Norwegian defenseman JONAS HOLOS is correctly judged to have intentionally covered the puck in the goal crease. (Matthew Manor/HHOF-IIHF Images)

Penalty Shot! The referee points to the center ice face-off dot and awards Switzerland a penalty shot as Norwegian defenseman JONAS HOLOS is correctly judged to have intentionally covered the puck in the goal crease. (Matthew Manor/HHOF-IIHF Images)

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JULIEN SPRUNGER (86) bumps fists with his teammates at the bench following the 2004 Minnesota Wild draft pick's opening goal against Norway at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

JULIEN SPRUNGER (86) bumps fists with his teammates at the bench following the 2004 Minnesota Wild draft pick's opening goal against Norway at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

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Two veteran international Norwegian defensemen with many seasons skated in the German league, MATS TRYGG (23) and TOMMY JAKOBSEN (7), tangle in the corner with Switzerland’s experienced IVO RUTHEMANN (32) of SC Bern. Jakobsen, 39, spent ten seasons in the DEL with EV Augsburg and EG Dusseldorf before moving to EC Graz in Austria for three years while Trygg, 34, has spent the past five winters in Germany playing for ECD Iserlohn (the Roosters) and EC Koeln (die Haie – the Sharks). (Reuters photo)

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TORE VIKINGSTAD (29) has been playing his professional hockey in Germany since joining EG Dusseldorf from Swedish Elitserien club IF Leksands to start the 2002-03 season. The 34-year-old former St. Louis Blues draft pick was the German elite league's scoring leader in 2005-06. Entering the 2010 Vancouver Games, Vikingstad had scored 7 goals in 30 games for Norway at five major international tournaments. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

TORE VIKINGSTAD (29) has been playing his professional hockey in Germany since joining EG Dusseldorf from Swedish Elitserien club IF Leksands to start the 2002-03 season. The 34-year-old former St. Louis Blues draft pick was the German elite league's scoring leader in 2005-06. Entering the 2010 Vancouver Games, Vikingstad had scored 7 goals in 30 games for Norway at five major international tournaments. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

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Switzerland's ROMAN WICK (14) lands an elbow to the shielded face of Norway's MADS HANSEN (8) in Vancouver. Hansen's second period power play goal handed Norway a 2-1 lead. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Switzerland's ROMAN WICK (14) lands an elbow to the shielded face of Norway's MADS HANSEN (8) in Vancouver. Hansen's second period power play goal handed Norway a 2-1 lead. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Swiss forward ROMAN WICK (14) is denied by Norwegian goaltender PAL GROTNES (33) with NHL defenseman OLE KRISTIAN TOLLEFSEN of the Detroit Red Wings prone in front. Wick finished off a sharp passing play to tie the game at two goals apiece. (Reuters photo)

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Switzerland's RAFFAELE SANNITZ (39) in the process of scoring one of, if not the most, skillful goal of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games against Norway's goaltender, PAL GROTNES. (Matthew Manor/HHOF-IIHF Images)

Switzerland's RAFFAELE SANNITZ (39) in the process of scoring one of, if not the most, skillful goal of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games against Norway's goaltender, PAL GROTNES. (Matthew Manor/HHOF-IIHF Images)

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Sannitz completes his spectacular goal by tapping the mid-air puck past Grotnes to give Switzerland a 3-2 lead. (AP photo)

Sannitz completes his spectacular goal by tapping the mid-air puck past Grotnes to give Switzerland a 3-2 lead. (AP photo)

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Another shot of Sannitz, hooked from behind by Norwegian defenseman MATS TRYGG (23), tapping the puck past goaltender PAL GROTNES. (AP photo)

Another shot of Sannitz, hooked from behind by Norwegian defenseman MATS TRYGG (23), tapping the puck past goaltender PAL GROTNES. (AP photo)

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Tiny MATS ZUCCARELLO AASEN (48) taps TORE VIKINGSTAD (29) on the helmet following the EC Hannover player’s second goal of the game to tie the game at three goals apiece. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Blindenbacher's power play goal gave Switzerland a brief lead roughly mid-way through the third period. (AP photo)

Blindenbacher's power play goal gave Switzerland a brief lead roughly mid-way through the third period. (AP photo)

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Swiss forward ROMANO LEMM (67), tracked by Norwegian defender TOMMY JAKOBSEN (7), receives Sandy Jeannin's creative pass in the crease. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Swiss forward ROMANO LEMM (67), tracked by Norwegian defender TOMMY JAKOBSEN (7), receives Sandy Jeannin's creative pass in the crease. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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The puck is in the net, the game is over. (AP photo)

The puck is in the net, the game is over. (AP photo)

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Lemm lifts Switzerland with his goal 2:28 into overtime to conclude an epic ice hockey match at the 2010 Winter Olympics Games in Vancouver, Canada. (Reuters photo)

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Switzerland’s Lemm lets out a huge roar after his goal in overtime defeats Norway at Vancouver. (AP photo)

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Two heroes, Switzerland's ROMANO LEMM (67) and Norway's TORE VIKINGSTAD (29), shake hands at the conclusion of an epic ice hockey match at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. (Julie Jacobson/AP photo)

Two heroes, Switzerland's ROMANO LEMM (67) and Norway's TORE VIKINGSTAD (29), shake hands at the conclusion of an epic ice hockey match at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. (Julie Jacobson/AP photo)

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Canada 3 – Switzerland 2 : Match Report

San Jose Shark star DANY HEATLEY (15) signals his opening goal for Canada against Switzerland at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. (Matthew Manor/HHOF-IIHF Images)

San Jose Shark star DANY HEATLEY (15) signals his opening goal for Canada against Switzerland at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. (Matthew Manor/HHOF-IIHF Images)

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Pittsburgh Penquins’ Stanley Cup champion SIDNEY CROSBY made the most of his second chance in the penalty-shot shootout to enable CANADA to avoid a second-straight disaster opposite a stubborn SWITZERLAND squad at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Switzerland, of course, engineered a spectacular 2-0 upset of the Canucks at the Turin Games four years ago.

However, after San Jose Shark PATRICK MARLEAU scored just 35 seconds into the second period to give Canada a 2-0 lead, it certainly seemed as if the host nation was well on its way this time out.

Switzerland, who took the game’s first five penalties and seven of eight whistled by the referees for the match, were not prepared to give in without a fight, however.

At the nine-minute mark of the second stanza, veteran IVO RUTHEMANN of SC Bern scored to give Switzerland life and cut Canada’s lead in half. The youngest member of Canada, Los Angeles Kings defenseman DREW DOUGHTY, made a costly decision at the Swiss blueline which presented Ruthemann the opportunity. Doughty was rewarded by Canada coach MIKE BABCOCK with a seat on the bench for the remainder of the match.

The Swiss immediately capitalized on momentum and continued to capture the better of play for the rest of the second period; Switzerland were fortunate when defenseman PATRICK VON GUNTEN of EHC Kloten had his shot from the left point deflect off Marleau’s skate past New Jersey Devil MARTIN BRODEUR into Canada’s goal to square matters at two with just ten seconds left until intermission.

The Canadians clearly attempted to assert themselves in the final frame. Canada launched 18 shots in comparison to just three for the Swiss. Anaheim Ducks goaltender JONAS HILLER was huge for Switzerland, however, and produced a key save from fellow Duck RYAN GETZLAFF to help see the game into overtime.

The four-time Olympian Brodeur built a wall for Canada in the shootout, which extended into sudden-death after a scoreless first three rounds.

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 CANADA 3 – SWITZERLAND 2 — (aet, shootout)

Shots-on-goal :  Canada 46 – Switzerland 23

CAN goals :  Heatley, Marleau

SWITZ goals :  Ruthemann, von Gunten

Shootout :

CAN — Crosby (1/2), Toews (0/1), Getzlaff (0/1)

SWITZ — Domenichelli (0/1), Lemm (0/1), Wick (0/1), Pluss (0/1)

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Crosby’s second penalty-shot attempt beats Hiller to give Canada the 3-2 shootout victory over Canada. (Matthew Manor/HHOF-IIHF Images)

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Native Canadian and former Calgary Flame HNAT DOMENICHELLI (17) attempts a shot for Switzerland as New Jersey Devil defenseman SCOTT NIEDERMAYER (27) stretches to prevent such. Domenichelli, on his debut for die Schweiz at the Vancouver Olympic Games, was stopped by Brodeur on Switerland’s first attempt in the shootout. (Matthew Manor/HHOF-IIHF Images)

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Another view of Crosby’s winner in the shootout. (Shaun Best/Reuters)

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Eighteen years after # 88 Lindros beat Germany in Canada’s first penalty-shot shootout at the Olympics in Albertville, # 87 Crosby takes care of Switzerland in Vancouver. (Shaun Best/Reuters)

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Switzerland : Hiller Always Had Big Shoes

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One thing was always certain for Switzerland goaltender JONAS HILLER at this year’s Vancouver Winter Olympic Games.

The Anaheim Ducks backstop had big shoes to fill considering the quality goaltending the Swiss, for the most part, received at the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy.

DAVID AEBISCHER had a strong game as Switzerland were able to upset the Czech Republic 3-2 in the Italian Alps.

MARTIN GERBER, who was injured this winter for Moscow-based  HK Atlant Mytsichy and a late scratch for coach RALPH KRUEGER, turned in a phenomenal pereformance against Canada in Turin.

Gerber stopped all 49 shots fired his direction as Switzerland absolutely stunned the high-octane offense of Canada. Included in the barrage was the 24-1 shot disparity suffered by the Swiss in the third period. Nevertheless, the former National Hockey Leaguer stood tall between the pipes for Switzerland.  

Here, RICK NASH of Canada is absolutely robbed by the genuine thievery of Gerber :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1nBSu-B8yY&feature=related

The puck was ruled to have never completely crossed the goalline and, thus, the-then Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Gerber was able to go on to garner the gigantic shutout for Switzerland in the 2-0 defeat of Canada.

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United States 3 – Switzerland 1 : Match Report

Switzerland goaltender JONAS HILLER (1) looks up at the scoreboard to see 2-0 registered for the United States after DAVID BACKES (42) scored moments earlier. (Matthew Manor/HHOF-IIHF Images)

Switzerland goaltender JONAS HILLER (1) looks up at the scoreboard to see 2-0 registered for the United States after DAVID BACKES (42) scored moments earlier. (Matthew Manor/HHOF-IIHF Images)

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Anaheim Ducks forward BOBBY RYAN, the number two overall pick of the 2005 National Hockey League Draft, put a puck past club teammate JONAS HILLER guarding the Swiss goal with one minute plus one second to go in the first period to start the United States off right on opening day at the 2010 Winter Olympics in British Columbia, Canada.

Once the St. Louis Blues’ DAVID BACKES (Minnesota State Univ) and Pittsburgh Penquins’ RYAN MALONE (St. Cloud State) struck for two goals inside of three minutes, Switzerland’s ship was effectively sunk just eight minutes into the second period of the very first match of the ice hockey competition at the Vancouver Games.

The United States defense and Buffalo Sabres goaltender RYAN MILLER (Michigan State Univ) were particularly solid on the whole and limited the Swiss to just fifteen shots for the duration of the match. Former University of Wisconsin and Nashville Predators defenseman RYAN SUTER, whose father Bob was a blueliner on the famed 1980 gold medal squad for the United States, drew the lone American assist in the contest. Former University of Minnesota and St. Louis Blues rearguard ERIK JOHNSON led the U.S. team with 19:23 minutes logged.

Switzerland, who created chances but failed to finish, did manage to salvage some pride with a little over ten minutes to go through ROMAN WICK, assisted by former NHL forward HNAT DOMENICHELLI and current New York Islanders defenseman MARK STREIT.

Coach RALPH KRUEGER, making a return to his native Canada, and his Swiss squad are not equipped to consistently cope with 3-0 deficits halfway into a match.

The United States, with the 3-1 triumph, ran their all-time Olympic record to 7-1 opposite Switzerland after the first match between the two nations 90 years ago at Antwerp, Belgium, in 1920.

More importantly, a confidence-building victory at the first attempt is exactly what the youthful United States needed for coach RON WILSON from its first match at the Vancouver tournament.

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UNITED STATES 3 – SWITZERLAND 1

shots-on-goal :  United States 24 – Switzerland 15

USA goals : Ryan, Backes, Malone

SWITZ goals : Wick

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United States coach RON WILSON, a native of Windsor, Ontario, in Canada and a two-time All-American at Providence College in the mid-1970s, spent eight seasons in the 1980s skating for EHC Kloten, HC Davos and SC Zurich in Switzerland’s elite league. On three occasions, Wilson joined the Minnesota North Stars at the conclusion of the Swiss season to complete National Hockey League campaigns.

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CNS-OLY-MHKY

Minneapolis-born St. Louis Blues forward DAVID BACKES (42) of the United States wallops Swiss defenseman YANNICK WEBER (77) of the American Hockey League’s Hamilton Bulldogs along the boards at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada. (John Mahoney/CNS)

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CNS-OLY-MHKY

Not an intra-squad prayer session but rather a mid-ice collision between the United States forward ZACH PARISE (9) of the New Jersey Devils and Switzerland defender SEVERIN BLINDENBACHER (5) of Swedish Elitserien club Farjestad Karlstad. (John Mahoney/CNS)

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Blindenbacher (5) and Anaheim Duck goaltender JONAS HILLER (1) defend the Switzerland goal against the onslaught of United States forward DUSTIN BROWN (32) of the Los Angeles Kings in Vancouver. (Shaun Best/Reuters)

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OLYMPICS-ICE HOCKEY/

United States forward BOBBY RYAN (54) of the Anaheim Ducks, a native of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, accepts adulation from his teammates after shooting the Americans to a late first period lead in the opening game of the 2010 Olympic ice hockey tournament in Vancouver. (Shaun Best/Reuters)

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OLYMPICS-ICE HOCKEY/

Hiller is beaten by Anaheim Duck teammate Ryan for the very first goal of the 2010 Vancouver Games. (Shaun Best/Reuters)

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OLYMPICS-ICE HOCKEY/

On his debut at the Winter Olympic Games, Buffalo Sabres goaltender RYAN MILLER, a product of Michigan State University, was sharp when he needed to be versus Switzerland. (Hans Deryk/Reuters)

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Switzerland – Final Olympic Roster

Switzerland forward ANDRES AMBUEHL (10) is stopped by Denmark goalkeeper PATRICK GALBRAITH at the 2008 IIHF World Championships in Quebec City. Ambuehl, who is currently skating for the New York Rangers' farm club in the American Hockey League, the Hartford Wolf Pack, has been named to his second Olympic team for Switzerland by head coach RALPH KRUEGER.

Switzerland forward ANDRES AMBUEHL (10) is stopped by Denmark goalkeeper PATRICK GALBRAITH at the 2008 IIHF World Championships in Quebec City. Ambuehl, who is currently skating for the New York Rangers' farm club in the American Hockey League, the Hartford Wolf Pack, has been named to his second Olympic team for Switzerland by head coach RALPH KRUEGER.

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SWITZERLAND — final roster for 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics

Coach — Ralph KRUEGER —— Asst — Jakob Koelliker, Peter Lee

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Goaltenders

  • #   1 — Jonas HILLER — ANAHEIM
  • # 52 — Tobias STEPHAN — HC Servette Geneva
  • # 66 — Ronnie RUEGER — EHC Kloten

Defensemen

  • #   5 — Severin BLINDENBACHER — BK Farjestad Karlstad
  • #   7 — Mark STREIT — NY ISLANDERS
  • # 16 — Rafael DIAZ — EV Zug
  • # 31 — Mathias SEGER — SC Zurich
  • # 47 — Luca SBISA — Portland (WHL jrs)
  • # 54 — Phillippe FURRER — SC Bern
  • # 72 — Patrick VON GUNTEN — EHC Kloten
  • # 77 — Yannick WEBER — Hamilton (AHL)

Forwards

  • # 10 — Andres AMBUEHL — Hartford (AHL)
  • # 14 — Roman WICK — EHC Kloten
  • # 17 — Hnat DOMENICHELLI — HC Lugano
  • # 18 — Thomas DERUNS — HC Servette Geneva
  • # 23 — Thierry PATERLINI — SC Rapperswil-Jona
  • # 25 — Thibault MONNET — SC Zurich
  • # 28 — Martin PLUSS — SC Bern
  • # 32 — Ivo RUTHEMANN — SC Bern
  • # 35 — Sandy JEANNIN — HC Fribourg-Gotteron
  • # 39 — Raffaele SANNITZ — HC Lugano
  • # 67 — Romano LEMM — HC Lugano
  • # 86 — Julien SPRUNGER — HC Fribourg-Gotteron

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SWISS ROSTER CHANGES

The goaltender who shutout Canada at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, will not be suiting up for Switzerland at the 2010 Vancouver Games after all.

MARTIN GERBER, who suffered a neck injury this past December playing for Moscow-based Russian club Atlant Mytischy Moscow in the Kontinental Hockey League, has been replaced on the coach RALPH KRUEGER’s roster by RONNIE RUEGER of Swiss club EHC Kloten.

Rueger, 36, has been to three major international tournaments for Switzerland but did not appear in a match at any of those events.

It was Gerber, a veteran of 226 National Hockey League games, who turned aside a whopping 49 shots in Switzerland’s stunning 2-0 upset of Canada at the Olympic Games four years ago.

Switzerland have made two changes on defense, as well. The experienced GORAN BEZINA of HC Servette Geneva and 19-year-old ROMAN JOSI of SC Bern, the 2008 2nd round pick (# 38 overall) of the Nashville Predators, have been replaced. 24-year-old PHILLIPE FURRER of SC Bern, who has represented Switzerland at two World Championships previously, and 25-year-old PATRICK VON GUNTEN of EHC Kloten, an international novice, are the replacements.

On offense, Philadelphia Flyers draft choice KEVIN ROMY of HC Lugano has been dropped in favor of his club teammate, 25-year-old ROMANO LEMM.

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Switzerland vs United States – Match History

Switzerland captain MARK STREIT of the New York Islanders controls the puck versus the United States at the 2009 IIHF World Championships in Bern. Switzerland defeated the United States 4-3 in the match. Streit, 33, will be a pivotal player for the Swiss in Vancouver.

Switzerland captain MARK STREIT of the New York Islanders controls the puck versus the United States at the 2009 IIHF World Championships in Bern. Switzerland defeated the United States 4-3 in the match. Streit, 33, will be a pivotal player for the Swiss in Vancouver.

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Match history at major international tournaments :

SWITZERLAND — versus — UNITED STATES

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First meeting — 90 years ago — 1920 in Antwerp, Belgium

Overall record — United States 21 — Switzerland 7 — ties 1

Winter Olympics record — United States 6 — Switzerland 1

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  • 1920 — OG – Antwerp ————————– 29-0 – United States
  • 1933 — WC – Prague —————————- 7-0 – United States
  • 1936 — OG – Garmisch/Partenkirchen —— 3-0 – United States
  • 1938 — WC – Prague —————————- 1-0 – Switzerland
  • 1939 — WC – Basel ——————————- 3-2 – Switzerland
  • 1939 — WC – Basel ——————————- 2-1 – United States
  • 1947 — WC – Prague —————————- 4-3 – United States
  • 1948 — OG – St. Moritz ————————– 5-4 – Switzerland
  • 1949 — WC – Stockholm ———————- 12-5 – United States
  • 1949 — WC – Stockholm ———————— 5-4 – Switzerland
  • 1950 — WC – London ————————– 10-5 – United States
  • 1951 — WC – Paris ——————————- 5-1 – Switzerland
  • 1952 — OG – Oslo ——————————– 8-2 – United States
  • 1955 — WC – Krefeld —————————- 7-3 – United States
  • 1962 — WC – Denver ————————– 12-1 – United States
  • 1964 — OG – Innsbruck ————————- 7-4 – United States
  • 1970 — WC (b) – Bucharest —————— 12-3 – United States
  • 1972 — OG (q) – Sapporo ———————– 5-3 – United States
  • 1974 — WC (b) – Ljubljana ——————– 10-3 – United States
  • 1983 — WC (b) – Tokyo ————————– 5-2 – United States
  • 1987 — WC – Vienna —————————— 6-3 – United States
  • 1988 — OG – Calgary —————————– 8-4 – United States
  • 1991 — WC – Turku ——————————- 4-2 – United States
  • 1998 — WC – Zurich ——————————- 5-2 – United States
  • 1999 — WC – Oslo ——————————— 3-0 – United States
  • 2000 — WC – St. Petersburg ——————– 3-3 – tie
  • 2002 — WC – Karlstad —————————- 3-0 – United States
  • 2003 — WC – Tampere ————————— 1-0 – Switzerland
  • 2009 — WC – Bern ——————————— 4-3 – Switzerland

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Switzerland : Hiller Can Hold Fort

Swiss goaltender JONAS HILLER and defenseman BEAT FORSTER (29) hold off Canada's ERIC STAAL (12) at the 2007 IIHF World Championships in Moscow. Hiller has never appeared at the Winter Olympic Games for Switzerland before.

Swiss goaltender JONAS HILLER and defenseman BEAT FORSTER (29) hold off Canada's ERIC STAAL (12) at the 2007 IIHF World Championships in Moscow. Hiller has never appeared at the Winter Olympic Games for Switzerland before.

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Should Moscow-based MARTIN GERBER not return to full fitness in time for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games next month in Vancouver, Swiss national team goaltending should still be in capable hands with JONAS HILLER of the Anaheim Ducks.

Last season, Hiller took over the job as Anaheim’s number one in the National Hockey League and played 46 games (2.39 avg, 91.7%) in the regular season. The Swiss puck stopper followed that with 13 games (2.23 avg, 94.3%) in the Stanley Cup playoffs . This season, the 27-year-old has played 32 games (2.73 avg, 91.8%) so far for the Ducks.

Although Hiller’s average is up this term, so is the save percentage, if only just.

More importantly, Hiller has won his last five games for the Anaheim Ducks, including a 41-save effort versus the Chicago Black Hawks earlier this week.

Gerber, 35, injured his neck in a collision playing for HK Atlant Mytischy of the Kontinental Hockey League in mid-December. At the time of his injury, it was originally feared Gerber could be out of action six months although that prognosis was later amended. The hero of Switzerland’s 2-0 victory over Canada at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin is currently still on the disabled list in the KHL.

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Switzerland : Sbisa Is Sidelined

United States forward KYLE OKPOSO (9) and Switzerland defenseman LUCA SBISA (22) cross sticks as NHL first round draft picks collide at the 2008 IIHF World Junior Championships in Liberec, Czech Republic.

United States forward KYLE OKPOSO (9) and Switzerland defenseman LUCA SBISA (22) cross sticks as NHL first round draft picks collide at the 2008 IIHF World Junior Championships in Liberec, Czech Republic.

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The Swiss national team could be without the services of defenseman LUCA SBISA for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver this February.

The 19-year-old former NHL first round draft choice reportedly suffered an abdominal tear playing for Switzerland at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championships.

Sources list Sbisa’s return date as anywhere between the last week of January and the second week of February. 

However, according to HURRICANE WATCH, a blog covering Sbisa’s Lethbridge junior club in Canada, the defenseman has told his coach, former NHLer RICH PRESTON, the injury is not as serious as first thought. The 2008 Philadelphia Flyers’ top pick has returned to his homeland to see a specialist. Preston also stated the injury is more of a hip problem and believes the Swiss defender’s return will be on a week-to-week basis.

Sbisa played 37 games (0 go 7 as, 7 pts, 36 pim) for the Philadelphia Flyers in the National Hockey League last season after his recall from the Lethbridge juniors of the Western Hockey League. Sbisa had eight games (0 go 0 as) in the NHL this fall for the Anaheim Ducks before being returned to Canadian junior hockey.

Sbisa was pointless in three games for Switzerland at this year’s World Junior tournament before being injured.

SWITZERLAND start their schedule at the Winter Olympics February 16 when they skate with Group A round-robin opponents the UNITED STATES in Vancouver.

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