Archive for Swiss hockey

Switzerland 2:1 Slovakia


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Two lighting-fast goals just fifty-one seconds apart at the start of the third period overturned the deficit and vaulted inexperienced Switzlerand to a 2-1 triumph over Slovakia and a respectable second place finish at the 2014 Deutschland Cup international tournament in Munich.

After two consecutive games against the much heavier-hitting Canadian and German squads, the Slovaks enjoyed a far less physical contest against the youthful Swiss and probably had the better of play in the first two periods, as well. With less than four and a half minutes left in the second period, Slovakia stormed to the lead when HC Kosice right wing Adam Lapsansky converted a fabulous chance coming from between the two faceoff circles after a centering pass from behind the net. For Lapsanky, who has never appeared at a major international tournament as of yet, it marked the third consecutive game at this 2014 Deutschland Cup that the 24-year-old Slovak scored one goal.

Switzerland, however, were fortified by the goaltending of Sandro Zurkirchen of HC Ambri Piotta, the 24-year-old who was making just his second-ever appearance for the national team; Zurkirchen, to review, had made 36 saves for the Swiss in the 2-1 win over Canada the day before and was a major reason why Slovakia failed on five power play opportunities on the last day of the tournament in Munich.

Switzerland fought back to tie the score barely more than four minutes into the final frame when EV Zug right wing Lino Martschini, the 21-year-old who spent two seasons playing major junior in Canada for the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League, went on a solo skate through the Slovakia defense. Less than sixty seconds thereafter, the Swiss struck for a winner when the trio from Nationalliga A side HC Davos finished with aplomb. Samuel Walser, the 22-year-old center who had also scored Switzerland’s first goal in the 2-1 victory over Canada at this 2014 Deutschland Cup, netted yet again after taking a drop pass from Dino Wieser, the 25-year-old left wing who had defeated the Canadians by scoring into an empty net just the day before.

Highly experienced trainer Glen Hanlon, the long-time National Hockey League goaltender and former Washington Capitals head coach who is now in his first season in charge of Switzlerand’s national team, was pleased and encouraged by both the effort and progress his players demonstrated throughout the weekend tournament in Munich.

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Slovakia defenseman Tomas Bokros (3), the 25-year-old who spent last season with SK Sodertalje in the Swedish second division, and speedy Switzerland left wing Reto Suri of EV Zug, the 25-year-old Olympic veteran who has already appeared at three major international tournaments (20 ga, 6 go, 11 pts) in his career, search for the loose puck in front of the net on the final day of the 2014 Deutschland Cup competition.
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November 9, 2014
Deutschland Cup
Olympia-Eisstadion … Munich, Germany
Attendance : 4,800

Switzerland 2:1 Slovakia

35:39 … SVK – Lapsansky (T. Sykora, Cingel)
44:12 … SWITZ – Martschini (Haas, Suri)
45:03 … SWITZ – Walser (Wieser, Simion)

penalty minutes : SWITZ 10 – SVK 4

Slovakia : Konrad – Deyl, Svarny ; Valach, Janosik ; Kotvan, Kozak ; Bokros – Dravecky, Viedensky, Bakos ; Cingel, T. Sykora, Lapsansky ; Marcinko, Lusnak, Rac ; Dej, Bortnak, Vandas

Switzerland : Zurkirchen – Ramholt, Schlumpf ; Leeger, Haechler ; Kparghai, Kienzle ; Fischer – Suri, Haas, Martschini ; Wieser, Walser, Simion ; Bodenmann, Schaeppi, Baltisberger ; Scherwey, Froideveaux, Bertschy

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Switzerland 2:1 Canada


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A risky tactial decision motivated by circumstances prevailing towards the end of regulation did not produce the desired effect and enabled Switzerland to skate off with a 2-1 victory over Canada on the second day of play at the 2014 Deutschland Cup international tournament in Munich.

Switzerland had more of the possession to start and probably had more quality chances than Canada at the outset, as well. A little more than eleven minutes into the contest, the inexperienced Swiss were immediately rewarded for their hard work. A wide-angle shot from Samuel Walser, the 22-year-old center from HC Davos, negotiated its way through considerable traffic before eluding Canada goaltender Chris Mason from German club Augsburger Panthers, the 38-year-old veteran who has made 317 appearances in the National Hockey League for the Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, Atlanta Thrashers and Winnipeg Jets, in his lengthy career.

Canada came into the game more and more as the match moved along, in part due to several power play opportunities that came about after a spate of Swiss penalties. Capitalizing on a steady build-up of momentum, the Canadians got themselves back on level terms with roughly five and a half minutes left in the second period. Zach Hamill of Finnish elite league club HPK Hameenlinna, the 26-year-old who was the first round choice (# 8 overall) of the Boston Bruins at the 2007 NHL Draft but could only managed 20 NHL games (0 go, 4 pts) in five and a half seasons of North American pro hockey before signing for Kontinental Hockey League club Barys Astana in Kazakhstan last year, fired home a shot after receiving a drop pass.

The Canadians were enjoying far more of play as the end of regulation approached but found Switzerland goaltender Sandro Zurkirchen of HC Ambri-Piotta to be a most a difficult nut to crack; the 24-year-old was certainly impressive in turing aside 36 shots on his senior international debut.

Canada head coach Jeff Tomlinson, the second-year trainer of Deutsche Eishockey Liga club Eisbaeren Berlin, decided to go for broke with just over a minute in the game and lifted his goaltender in favor of a sixth attacker. Tomlinson calculated, correctly as it turned out, that his team would need to collect three points for a win in regulation time on this second day of the 2014 Deutschland Cup if the Canadians were to have any chance at winning the weekend tournament in Munich. Canada, of course, are scheduled to skate against host Germany on the final day of the competition.

Tomlinson’s daring gamble failed to pass dividends for Canada, however, and it took Switzerland’s Dino Wieser, the 25-year-old left wing also from HC Davos, only thirteen seconds to shoot the game-winning goal into the empty net.

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Switzerland goaltender Sandro Zurkirchen, the former EV Zug backstop who is now in his second season as the number one for HC Ambri Piotta in the elite Nationalliga A, had a successful senior international debut against nine-time Olympic gold medalist Canada at the 2014 Deutschland Cup in Munich.
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November 8, 2014
Deutschland Cup
Olympia-Eisstadion … Munich, Germany
Attendance : 4,600

Switzerland 2:1 Canada

11:12 … SWITZ – Walser (Walsky, Kparghai)
34:32 … CAN – Hamill (Aulin, Reddox)
59:12 … SWITZ – Wieser (unassisted) – eng

shots-on-goal : CAN 37 – SWITZ 24

penalty minutes: SWITZ 14 – CAN 8

Switzerland : Zurkirchen – Ramholt, Schlumpf ; Leeger, Untersander ; Kparghai, Kienzle ; Fischer, Haechler – Suri, Lemm, Martschini ; Bodenmann, Haas, Walsky ; Wieser, Walser, Simion ; Kuenzle, Schaeppi, Baltisberger

Canada : Mason – Raymond, Regehr ; Roy, Festerling ; Pettinger, DuPont ; Westcott – Dixon, Ca. Abbott, Ch. Abbott ; Holloway, Buck, Clark ; Hamill, Aulin, Reddox ; James, Reinprecht, Greentree

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Germany 3:1 Switzerland


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Two goals from a recalled veteran appearing for the national team for the first time in nineteen months and steady play between the pipes from an experienced goaltender who has been out of favor with the national team trainer the last couple of seasons lifted host Germany to a 3-1 triumph over traditional Alpine arch-rival Switzerland on the opening day of the 2014 Deutschland Cup international tournament in Munich.

Germany came out flying in the opening period and were able to generate a sustained offensive attack to completely dominate the Swiss in terms of getting shots on goal (18-7). All the pressure finally paid off for the hosts when Patrick Reimer of Nuremberg Ice Tigers, the 31-year-old right wing who was first appeared for the national team in the spring of 2005 but had not skated for Deutschland since the 2013 IIHF World Championships, shot the hosts to the lead nearly fifteen and a half minutes into the contest. Koelner Haie left winger Philipp Gogulla, the 27-year-old former Buffalo Sabres farmhand who has appeared at the annual IIHF World Championships seven times (46 ga, 4 go, 21 as) in his career, did the preparation work.

The Germans would have had an even larger lead in the first period if not for the fine work of Switzerland netminder Daniel Manzato, the 30-year-old veteran who was the fifth round choice (# 160 overall) of the Carolina Hurricanes and spent the 2008/09 season in the American Hockey League with the Albany River Rats (32 ga, 3.19 avg, .898 svpct) before returning to Europe. Former Philadelphia Flyers farmhand Marcel Noebels, the 22-year-old left wing who scored 16 goals in 95 AHL games for the Adirondack Phantoms before signing a contract with Eisbaeren Berlin this past October, and Thomas Oppenheimer, the 25-year-old Hamburg Freezers right wing who led Deutschland in scoring at the 2014 IIHF World Championships last spring, each had excellent opportunities to extend Deutschland’s advantage late in the first period but were denied by Manzato. Oppenheimer had been turned aside at point blank range by the Swiss goaltender just prior to Reimer’s opening strike, as well.

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Switzerland, who iced a very inexperienced squad stocked with numerous players who were on their international debut, equalized on the power play roughly five and a half minutes into the second period. Left wing Reto Suri of EV Zug, the 25-year-old Olympic veteran who has appeared for the Swiss at three major international tournaments (20 ga, 6 go, 11 pts) in his career, finished with aplomb after the Swiss had used a series of short passes to quickly move the puck around in the offensive zone. Linemates Romano Lemm of EHC Kloten, the 30-year-old Swiss captain and two-time Olympic veteran who has skated at nine major international events (55 ga, 8 go, 19 pts) in his career, and 21-year-old youngster Lino Martschini of EV Zug picked up the assists.

The Germans struck back less than three minutes later, though, also while skating with the man advantage as Reimer, who now counts 15 goals in 52 national team games for Deutschland in his career, made a hustling play to pounce on a loose puck in front of the net and chip the little black disc up and over the shoulder of the Swiss custodian Manzato. With Germany goaltender Dennis Endras of Adler Mannheim, the 29-year-old veteran who has appeared in 20 games (2.78 avg, .906 svpct) at the IIHF World Championships during his career, also displaying fine form on his return to the national team colors, the would be no way back for Switzerland. Oppenheimer added an empty net goal to seal the deal for Deutschland.

“The Germans played good. It was hard for us to win space. We had a lot of trouble in the faceoff circle,” stated first-year Switzerland national team trainer Glen Hanlon, the long-time National Hockey League goaltender and former head coach who was previously in charge of both Belarus (2004/05 & 2005/06, 2008/09, 2013/14) and Slovakia (2009/10 & 2010/11).

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November 7, 2014
Deutschland Cup
Olympia-Eisstadion … Munich, Germany
Attendance : 5,500

Germany 3:1 Switerland

15:23 … GER – Reimer (Gogulla, Ullmann)
25:36 … SWITZ – Suri (Martschini, Lemm) – ppg
28:22 … GER – Reimer (unassisted) – ppg
59:33 … GER – Oppenheimer (Pietta, Hoerdler) – eng

shots-on-goal : GER 36 – SWITZ 21

penalty minutes : SWITZ 10 – GER 6

Germany : Endras – Ankert, Hoerdler ; Goc, Reul ; Akdag, Krueger ; Kettemer, Krupp – Gogulla, Ullmann, Reimer ; Pietta, Hospelt, Oppenheimer ; Hager, Plachta, Wolf ; Noebels, Seidenberg, Kink

Switzerland : Manzato – Ramholt, Schlumpf ; Leeger, Untersander ; Kparghai, Kienzle ; Fischer, Haechler – Suri, Lemm, Martschini ; Bodenmann, Schaeppi, Walsky ; Scherwey, Froidevaux, Baltisberger ; Wieser, Haas, Bertschy

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Hanlon Has Untested Squad For Swiss Coaching Debut


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Well-seasoned Canadian head coach Glen Hanlon, the former goaltender with 477 National Hockey League games to his credit who is now in charge of the third different European national team program of his distinguished career, will be bringing what is, on the whole, a very inexperienced Switzerland squad to the 2014 Deutschland Cup at the Olympia-Eisstadion in Munich, Germany.

It was only two seasons ago, of course, that the improving Swiss earned a silver medal at the 2013 IIHF World Championships in Scandinavia and, in doing so, celebrated their first medal at a major international tournament in 60 years. At the annual IIHF affair last spring, Switzerland narrowly missed a quarterfinal place by only one point although neighboring arch-rival Germany was beaten 3-2 during the Group B round robin phase in Minsk, Belarus. Now, the one-time Washington Capitals bench boss Hanlon is clearly using his first tournament as the national team trainer of Switzerland to have an initial look at a wide variety untested younger players.

The defensive corps of Hanlon’s inaugural Swiss side is the most experienced of the three units with four blueliners on the roster having appeared at the 2014 IIHF World Championships in Belarus six months ago. Two of those players, Eric Blum of SC Bern and Robin Grossmann of EV Zug, were also silver medalists at the 2013 IIHF World Championships. Another one of those four rearguards, 30-year-old Tim Ramholt from EV Zug, was the second round choice (# 39 overall) of the Calgary Flames at the 2003 NHL Draft and skated in 210 American Hockey League games for the Quad City Flames, Philadelphia Phantoms and Milwaukee Admirals.

Dominik Schlumpf of HC Lugano, the 23-year-old who appeared at the 2013 Deutschland Cup before skating in all seven games for Switlzerland at the 2014 IIHF World Championships and scoring a goal against Latvia, is, perhaps, the one to watch.

Switzerland’s first choice between the pipes will probably be HC Lugano goaltender Daniel Manzato, the 30-year-old veteran who was chosen in the fifth round (# 160 overall) of the 2002 NHL Draft by the Carolina Hurricanes and made 32 appearances (3.19 avg, .898 svpct) for the Albany River Rats during the 2008/09 AHL campaign before returning to Europe. Manzato has been on the Swiss roster at the annual IIHF World Championships three times (2007, 2010, 2011) in his career but has never played a game at a major international event. Manzato was in net at last year’s Deutschland Cup when Switzerland nipped the host nation 3-2 after a shootout.

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Switzerland netminder Daniel Manzato (79) of HC Lugano is beaten by Germany right wing Frank Mauer (28) of Adler Mannheim on the backhand during the 2013 Deutschland Cup clash at the Olympia-Eisstadion in Munich.
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One-third of the fifteen forwards selected by Hanlon have never before appeared for the national team of Switzerland in so much as even a Testspiel. Furthermore, nine of the fifteen attackers are 23 years of age or younger and three others are only 25 years old. Just five of the forwards on the roster for the 2014 Deutschland Cup have ever skated with a Swiss team at a major international tournament previously.

The lone prospect in the eyes of the North American professionals is national team newcomer Christoph Bertschy of SC Bern, the 20-year-old who was the sixth round pick (# 158 overall) of the Minnesota Wild at the 2012 NHL Draft. 23-year-old center Reto Schaeppi of SC Zuerich skated in all seven games for Switzerland at the 2014 IIHF World Championships and notched a shorthanded goal versus host nation Belarus. 25-year-old center Etienne Froideveaux of HC Lausanne appeared in five games for Switzerland at the 2014 IIHF World Championships and found the back of the net against Finland.

The two holdovers from the Swiss team that claimed the silver medal at the 2013 IIHF World Championships are Simon Bodenmann, the 26-year-old Olympic veteran from EHC Kloten, and winger Reto Suri, the 25-year-old Olympic veteran from EV Zug. With five goals and eight points in ten games for Switzerland in Scandinavia, the speedy Suri was particularly dangerous during the run to the silver medal two years ago. The forward on Hanlon’s first Swiss roster with by far the most experience is two-time Olympic veteran Romano Lemm, the 30-year-old EHC Kloten right wing who has turned out with Switzerland at nine major international tournaments (55 ga, 8 go, 19 pts) in his career but none since 2011.

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Switzerland winger Reto Suri (24) of EV Zug beats Canada netminder Mike Smith (41) of the Phoenix Coyotes during the shootout phase of an amazing 2013 IIHF World Championships preliminary round contest held at the Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden.

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NHL Refugees Recalled From Switzerland


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EV Zug right wing DAMIEN BRUNNER (96), the prolific 26-year-old who has represented Switzerland at the annual IIHF World Championships twice in his career (14 ga, 4 go, 12 pts) and just signed an NHL contract with the Detroit Red Wings only this past summer, still leads the Swiss Nationalliga A with 57 points this season but, almost certainly, will not repeat as domestic scoring champion of the NLA this term.
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Brunner, who registered three points (one goal) on his only appearance for EV Zug in the 2012 European Trophy tournament earlier this fall, remains a healthy nine points ahead of his nearest challenger on the Swiss scoring chart. Who would be HC Lugano’s well-traveled Canadian legionnaire GLEN METROPOLIT, the 38-year-old veteran who has appeared in 407 National Hockey League games (57 go, 159 pts) for the Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning, Atlanta Thrashers, Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens over the course of his career. Metropolit, to review, led the entire Swiss Nationalliga A in scoring while skating with EV Zug during the 2010/11 campaign.

SC Bern’s standout NHL refugee JOHN TAVARES, the talented young center who scored three goals for title-winning Canada at the traditional holiday Spengler Cup tournament in Davos just after Christmas, still stands tied for fourth place on the scoring chart in the Swiss Nationalliga A despite having departed to rejoin the New York Islanders now that the National Hockey League’s “Lock-Out” situation has been resolved.

EHC Biel Bienne’s star NHL exile TYLER SEGUIN, the 20-year-old Boston Bruins right wing who scored Canada’s first goal on the opening day of the 2012 Spengler Cup competition, was leading the entire Swiss elite league with 25 goals in only 29 NLA games this season but had already announced during the holiday tournament in Davos that he would be returning to North America immediately — well before the news broke that the NHL labor dispute had actually been settled.

Brunner and Seguin are still the joint top goal-scorers, by a considerable margin, in the Swiss Nationalliga A this term.

2012/13 NLA Season – NHL Refugee Scoring Chart
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57 pts … 25 go … 32 as … 33 ga …… D. BRUNNER, EV Zug
42 pts … 17 go … 25 as … 28 ga …… J. TAVARES, SC Bern
40 pts … 25 go … 15 as … 29 ga …… T. SEGUIN, EHC Biel Bienne
36 pts … 12 go … 24 as … 33 ga …… J. THORNTON, HC Davos
32 pts … 16 go … 16 as … 23 ga …… H. ZETTERBERG, EV Zug
30 pts ….. 9 go … 21 as … 28 ga …… J. SPEZZA, SC Rapperswil Jona
29 pts … 11 go … 18 as … 21 ga …… P. BERGERON, HC Lugano
29 pts ….. 7 go … 22 as … 32 ga …… R. DIAZ, EV Zug
26 pts ….. 7 go … 19 as … 32 ga …… M. STREIT, SC Bern
23 pts … 13 go … 10 as … 20 ga …… P. KANE, EHC Biel Bienne
23 pts ….. 7 go … 16 as … 22 ga …… L. COUTURE, HC Servette Geneva
21 pts ….. 5 go … 16 as … 32 ga …… Y. WEBER, HC Servette Geneva
18 pts … 12 go ….. 6 as … 17 ga …… R. NASH, HC Davos
18 pts ….. 6 go … 12 as … 19 ga …… B. LAICH, EHC Kloten
17 pts ….. 6 go … 11 as … 26 ga …… R. JOSI, SC Bern
16 pts ….. 4 go … 12 as … 16 ga …… D. DESHARNAIS, HC Fribourg Gotteron
13 pts ….. 8 go ….. 5 as … 16 ga …… D. BROWN, SC Zuerich
12 pts ….. 5 go ….. 7 as … 30 ga …… L. SBISA, HC Lugano

8 pts ……. 3 go ….. 5 as … 10 ga …… T. ENNIS, SC Langnau
7 pts ……. 3 go ….. 4 as … 13 ga …… J. SPURGEON, SC Langnau
6 pts ……. 3 go ….. 3 as ….. 7 ga …… L. ERIKSSON, HC Davos
5 pts ……. 2 go ….. 3 as ….. 4 ga …… M. DUCHESNE, HC Ambri Piotta
1 pts ……. 1 go ….. 0 as ….. 5 ga …… M. PACIORETTY, HC Ambri Piotta

3.22 avg ….. 91.4% svpct …. 8 ga …… C. SCHNEIDER, HC Ambri Piotta

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SC Bern’s star Canadian legionnaire JOHN TAVARES (91), the 22-year-old center who led the New York Islanders with 81 points (31 goals) in the National Hockey League last season, concluded his stay in Switzerland as the highest scoring foreigner among the all the imported NHL Lock-Out refugees who appeared in the Nationalliga A this term.

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2012 Deutschland Cup Scoreboard …… Germany 2 – Switzerland 0


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Germany goaltender DENNIS ENDRAS of Adler Mannheim, who, at this time last year was still on the roster of the Houston Aeros in the American Hockey League, observes the situation on his knees as Switzerland spends some time on the attack in the offensive zone during the Deutschland Cup second round match at the Olympia-Eisstadion in the Bavarian city of Munich.
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The host nation capitalized early on an early two-man advantage with the power play and then effectively employed both an organized as well as energized defense augmented by flawless goaltending as GERMANY shutout visiting neighbor and traditional Alpine arch-rival SWITZERLAND 2-0 on the second day of competition at the 2012 DEUTSCHLAND CUP.

Trainer SEAN SIMPSON’s Swiss troops shot themselves in the foot almost immediately after 23-year-old forward DENNIS HOLLENSTEIN of EHC Kloten (tripping) and 21-year-old defenseman ROMAIN LOEFFEL of HC Fribourg Gotteron (hooking) were whistled for a pair of undisciplined penalties within the first four minutes of the contest.

PAT CORTINA’s side, playing in just the second international match under the leadership of Germany’s new national team trainer of Canadian and Italian descent, were not about to let such a fabulous opportunity against their histiorical Alpine adversaries go to waste.

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Neither defendseman ROBIN GROSSMANN (91) of HC Davos nor goaltender RETO BERRA of EHC Biel-Bienne from Switzerland can prevent Germany center CHRISTOPH ULLMANN (47) of Alder Mannheim, the 29-year-old veteran who finished tied for second on Germany’s squad at the 2012 IIHF World Championships with both five assists and five points in Scandinavia this past spring, from finding the net on the backhand and scoring the first goal of the Deutschland Cup second round match at the Olympia-Eisstadion in the Bavarian city of Munich.
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CHRISTOPH ULLMANN of Adler Mannheim, the former Koelner Haie veteran who has represented Germany at seven major international tournaments (44 ga, 4 go, 17 pts) in his career, is congratulated by 2010 Olympic veteran THOMAS GREILINGER (39) of ERC Ingolstadt and naturalized Canadian GARRETT FESTERLING (54) of Hamburg Freezers after giving Germany the first period lead over neighboring Switzerland in the Deutschland Cup second round match at the Olympia-Eisstadion in Munich.
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And so, Germany went to the lead when Adler Mannheim veteran CHRISTOPH ULLMANN scored just as the first penalty to Switzerland was expiring. The hosts would continue to press the attack throughout the opening twenty minutes and would send 14 shots in on netminder RETO BERRA of HC Biel-Bienne’s goal, exactly twice the number of their Swiss guests were able to muster in the first period. The Germans were unable to increase their advantage for all this effort, however, in part due to the fine play of the fourth round pick (# 106 overall) of the St. Louis Blues at the 2006 National Hockey League Draft who happened to be in between the pipes for Switzerland.

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Germany defenseman FELIX PETERMANN (43) of hometown side EHC Red Bull Munich, the 28-year-old veteran who skated in three contests (0 go, 0 pts) for Germany at the 2007 IIHF World Championships in Russia, collides with Switzerland left wing DENNIS HOLLENSTEIN of EHC Kloten, the 23-year-old who appeared in seven contestes (7 ga, 0 go, 2 pts) for die Schweiz at the 2011 IIHF World Championships in Slovakia, during the Deutschland Cup second round contest at the Olympia-Eisstadion in the Bavaria.
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Switzerland came into the game more in the second period in part thanks to a pair of German penalties, a hooking call to Koelner Haie left wing PHILIP GOGULLA earlier into the frame and then a cross-checking charge assessed to Eisbaeren Berlin defenseman FRANK HOERLDER at the end of the period. But then again, Germany goaltender DENNIS ENDRAS of Adler Mannheim was also beginning to find his grove in the middle session, as well. This, and the conservative as well as prudent ‘safety-first’, defensive tactics employed by the new trainer Cortina were only just starting to pay dividends for Deutschland.

All the while, the two netminders at both ends of the ice were continuing what was to be a classic goaltending duel to be savored by the 5,500 spectators in attendance at the Olympia-Eisstadion in Munich.

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Switzerland defenseman SIMON BODENMANN (15) of EHC Kloten is left to contend with a pair of attackers in front as Germany left wing MARCEL MUELLER (25), the 24-year-old, former Eisbaeren Berlin youth product who appeared in three games (0 go, 0 pts) for the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 2010/11 campaign but is now skating for Elitserien club Mo Do Ornskoldsvik in Sweden, fishes for the loose puck in the goal crease during the Deutschland Cup second round match at the Olympia-Eisstadion in Munich.
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Switzerland defenseman PATRICK GEETING (12) of defending Nationalliga A champion SC Zuerich and Germany left wing KAI HOSPELT (18), the 2010 Olympic veteran and one-time NHL draft pick of the San Jose Sharks, jostle as visiting goaltender RETO BERRA (20) of EHC Biel-Bienne, the 25-year-old who made four appearances for Switzerland (3.01 avg, .880 save pct) at the 2012 IIHF World Championships in Scandinavia last spring, focuses on the puck during the Deutschland Cup second round match at the Olympia-Eisstadion in the Bavarian city of Munich.
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Switzerland center DANIEL RUBIN (40) of SC Bern, the 27-year-old, former HC Servette Geneva forward who has appeared in seven games (0 go, 0 pts) for die Schweiz at the past two annual IIHF World Championships collectively, shoots the puck right into the left shoulder of in-form Germany goaltender DENNIS ENDRAS (44) of Adler Mannheim, the 27-year-old native of Immenstadt in Bavaria who spent three seasons with the Deutsche Eishockey Liga’s Bavarian club Augsburg Panthers before signing a contract with the Minnesota Wild of the National Hockey League in the summer of 2011, during the closely-contested Deutschland Cup second round match at the Olympia-Eisstadion in the Bavarian city of Munich.
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Switzerland forward FABIAN SCHNYDER (27) of EV Zug is entirely too late to have any meaningful effect as Germany goaltender DENNIS ENDRAS (44), who spent the second half of last season out on loan in the Finnish elite league with IFK Helsinki, prepares to smother the puck easily at the side of the net during the Deutschland Cup second round match at the Olympia-Eisstadion in Munich.
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The visiting Swiss stepped up their bid to bring themselves level and would go on to outshoot their German hosts by the considerable margin of 13-6 in the third period. But Deutschland doggedly stuck to Cortina’s conservative tactics while, for the most part, maintaining good discipline to stay out of the penalty box. And the stingy Endras did not seem to be so interested in conceding goals to the arch-rival Swiss.

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Germany goaltender DENNIS ENDRAS (44) of Adler Mannheim, who was chosen as the Best Goaltender by the IIHF Directorate and also voted to the All-Star team by the accredited media in addition to being chosen at the tournament’s Most Valuable Player at the 2010 IIHF World Championships, finished with 28 saves in the Deutschland Cup second round encounter with neighboring Switzerland at the Olympia-Eisstadtion in Munich.
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Switzerland did have one great opportunity to equalize late in the third period after inexperienced Hamburg Freezers left wing DAVID WOLF, the 22-year-old who did not appear for the host nation in the big triumph over Canada during the opening round of the Deutschland Cup, took a lazy tripping penalty at the 57:15 mark of the match. Not surprisingly, the Swiss would also pull their goaltender with a little over a minute remaining and enjoy a two-man advantage for the last part of the pivotal power play. The German defense held more than firm, however, and steadfastly refused to surrender the tying goal to their Alpine arch-rivals.

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Germany defenseman BENEDIKT KOHL (34), the 24-year-old rearguard from Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg who twice appeared for the U-20 national side at the annual IIHF World Junior Championships but has never appeared with Deutschland at a senior major international tournament in his career, delivers a devastating check to an unfortunate Switzerland skater during the Deutschland Cup second round match at the Olympia-Eisstadion in Munich.
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With the power play having expired but the Swiss net still empty, the home side clinched the result once and for all. Eisbaeren Berlin defenseman JENS BAXMANN and right wing MICHAEL WOLF of Iserlohn Roosters, the current Germany national team captain who had collected three assists in the important victory over Canada, were able to work the puck to Koelner Haie left wing PHILIP GOGULLA in the neutral zone. A relatively unchallenged goal, then, for the 25-year-old, former Buffalo Sabres prospect who led Germany in scoring with nine points at the 2012 IIHF World Championships in Scandinavia last spring.

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Germany left wing PHILIP GOGULLA (87), who collected two assists in the 3-2 triumph over Canada in the first round of the 2012 Deutschland Cup, finished off Switzerland by shooting a puck into the empty net with just seven seconds remaining in the second round match with neighboring arch-rivals at the Olympia-Eisstadion in Bavaria.
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Germany vs Switzerland – A Closer Look At Alpine Adversaries


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Germany left wing PHILIP GOGULLA (87), the former 2nd round draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres who spent the 2009/10 season skating for the Portland Pirates in the American Hockey League, wheels away after scoring what will prove to be the only goal of the memorable knockout quarterfinal contest with Alpine arch-rival Switzerland at the SAP Arena in Mannheim during the 2010 IIHF World Championships hosted by Deutschland.
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Ever since the two neighbors initially met at what is now recognized as the very first major international tournament ever staged — the 1910 European Championships hosted by the little Swiss town of Les Avants — the two Alpine nations of GERMANY and SWITZERLAND have relentlessly pursued the, oftentimes, supercharged quest for the coveted status of ice hockey supremacy in the continent’s largest mountain chain.

Germany’s exciting 2-1 triumph over the visiting Swiss at Berlin in the de facto semi-final match of the 1930 IIHF World Championships earned Deutschland the title of European champion. Four years later at the neutral site of Milan in northern Italy, the Germans topped Switzerland by the same scoreline (but not before overtime) in the bronze medal match of the IIHF World Championships and claimed a second European title in the process. Sadly, though, more than five decades would pass before Germany and Switzerland would again play a meaningful match at the elite level of the annual IIHF World Championships.

Still, although many things in the world have come and gone in the century since Germany and Switzerland first had the puck dropped between their two national selections in serious competition, nothing at all has changed about the intensity and passion that characterizes this uniquely distinct Alpine rivalry.

Despite the fact that the DEUTSCHLAND CUP is, without question, actually a minor tournament on the interntional ice hockey calendar there can be little doubt, however, that the neighboring Switzerland national team is always in the mood to snatch the nice, shiny trophy offered by the Deutscher Eishockey Bund and gleefully make its way back across the border!

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Germany left wing PHILIP GOGULLA (87) of the American Hockey League’s Portland Pirates shoots past Switzerland goaltender MARTIN GERBER (26) of Russian club Atlant Mytishchi Moscow, the experienced veteran who had already appeared in 226 National Hockey League contests for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Carolina Hurricanes, Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs up to the that point in his career, and nets the game-winning goal of the 2010 IIHF World Championships quarterfinal match at the SAP Arena in Mannheim … DEUTSCHLAND’s triumph over DIE SCHWEIZ in that knockout quarterfinal match on home ice at Mannheim marked the first time in almost a decade that Germany had actually been able to defeat its Alpine arch-rival Switzerland at a major international tournament.
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1910 … EC ………. Les Avants ……………………GER 9 – SWITZ 1
1911 … EC ………. Berlin ………………………….GER 11 – SWITZ 0
1928 … WOG …… St. Moritz …………………….. SWITZ 1 – GER 0
1930 … WC ……… Berlin ………………………… GER 2 – SWITZ 1
1932 … EC ………. Berlin ………………………… GER 1 – SWITZ 1
1933 … WC ……… Prague ………………………. GER 1 – SWITZ 1
1934 … WC ……… Milan …………………………. GER 2 – SWITZ 1
1936 … WOG …… Garmisch-Partenkirchen …… GER 2 – SWITZ 0
1937 … WC ……… London ………………………. SWITZ 6 – GER 0

1952 … WOG …… Helsinki ……………………….. SWITZ 6 – WGER 3
1953 … WC ……… Basel …………………………. SWITZ 3 – WGER 2
1954 … WC ……… Stockholm ……………………. WGER 3 – SWITZ 3
1955 … WC ……… Duesseldorf ………………….. WGER 8 – SWITZ 3
1959 … WC ……… Kladno ………………………… WGER 6 – SWITZ 0
1964 … WOG …… Innsbruck ……………………… WGER 6 – SWITZ 5
1965 … WC-b …… Turku ………………………….. SWITZ 6 – WGER 1
1966 … WC-b …… Ljubljana ………………………. WGER 4 – SWITZ 0
1970 … WC-b …… Bucharest …………………….. WGER 3 – SWITZ 1
1972 … WOG-b … Sapporo ……………………….. WGER 5 – SWITZ 0
1972 … WC ……… Prague ………………………… WGER 4 – SWITZ 1
1972 … WC ……… Prague ………………………… WGER 6 – SWITZ 3
1975 … WC-b …… Sapporo ……………………….. WGER 8 – SWITZ 3
1976 … WOG …… Innsbruck ………………………. WGER 5 – SWITZ 1
1987 … WC ……… Vienna …………………………. WGER 4 – SWITZ 3

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The national ice hockey team of Switzerland experienced a period of marked improvement under the stewardship of trainer RALPH KRUEGER, who is now the head coach of the Edmonton Oilers in the National Hockey League. The native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, went undrafted by the NHL, himself, and, as a result, progressed from the Calgary Wranglers in the Canadian junior ranks to EG Duesseldorf in the West German elite league at the beginning of the 1980s. Krueger, who later represented West Germany as a player twice (1981 and 1986 – 16 ga, 0 go, 2 pts) at the annual IIHF World Championships in the decade to follow, was in charge behind the bench for Switzerland from the start of the 1997/98 season until the conclusion of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games hosted by Vancouver in his native Canada.
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1991 … WC ……… Turku …………………………… SWITZ 5 – GER 2
1991 … WC ……… Tampere ……………………….. GER 3 – SWITZ 3
1992 … WC (qf) …. Bratislava………………………. SWITZ 3 – GER 1
1995 … WC ……… Stockholm ……………………… GER 5 – SWITZ 3
2001 … WC ……… Cologne ………………………… GER 3 – SWITZ 1
2002 … WC ……… Joenkoeping …………………… GER 3 – SWITZ 0
2004 … WC ……… Prague ………………………….. SWITZ 1 – GER 0
2005 … WC ……… Vienna ………………………….. SWITZ 5 – GER 1
2006 … WOG …… Turin …………………………….. GER 2 – SWITZ 2
2009 … WC ……… Bern …………………………….. SWITZ 3 – GER 2
2010 … WC (qf) …. Mannheim ……………………… GER 1 – SWITZ 0

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Switzerland captain MATHIAS SEGER (31) of SC Zuerich glances up at the clock at the SAP Arena in Mannheim as the last few seconds of the 2010 IIHF World Championships quarterfinal match melt away and the jubilant German players are only just beginning to spill over the bench and celebrate their notable achievement.

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Nash-ional Sensation In Davos


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The late, great HERB BROOKS — the American hockey legend who spent time behind the bench in calling the shots for both HC DAVOS as well as the NEW YORK RANGERS back in the day — would be most proud, indeed.

Canada Olympic gold medalist RICK NASH, the superstar winger acquired by the New York Rangers from the Columbus Blue Jackets in a blockbuster trade this past summer, struck for three goals in the first period of his Nationalliga A debut this season and later added an assist as HC Davos rolled to a 9-2 rout of SC Rapperswil-Jona.

Canada Olympic gold medalist JOE THORNTON, the slick-passing center currently locked out by the San Jose Sharks, had four assists for the home side in the contest with SC Rapperswil-Jona at the Vaillant Arena including all three helpers with the goals from Nash.

The influence of the two National Hockey League players in the first contest since arriving in Europe was clearly evident as HC Davos posted its first victory at the fourth attempt in the Swiss elite league early into this 2012/13 season. Of course, both Nash and Thornton are no strangers to Switzerland and, in fact, are beginning their second tour of duty with HC Davos in the Nationalliga A. The two Canadian Olympic gold medalists both appeared in more than 40 Swiss regular season contests plus all of the playoff schedule for HC Davos during the 2004/05 season — the last time, of course, that the NHL engaged the so-called “Lockout” procedure — and did not play at all in North America that year even after the labor dispute ended, either.

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Prolific winger RICK NASH (61) of HC Davos, the 27-year-old who has appeared with the national team of Canada at six major international tournaments (47 ga, 25 go, 50 pts) including two Winter Olympic Games, slips past the ineffective check of SC Rapperswil-Jona winger JURAJ KOLNIK (21), the 31-year-old Slovakia international who skated 250 NHL games for the New York Islander and Florida Panthers, and two-time Switzerland Olympic goaltender DAVID AEBISCHER, the 34-year-old veteran of 214 NHL games for the Colorado Avalanche, Montreal Canadiens and Phoenix Coyotes, to score his second goal of the game and give the home side a 2-1 lead which would never be relinquished in the match witnessed by 4,884 visitors to the Vaillant Arena in Davos, Switzerland.
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Nash and Thornton, both of whom were the first overall player taken at the National Hockey League Draft (in 1997 and 2002, respectively), teamed on a line for HC Davos against SC Rapperswil-Jona with aging Czech center JOSEF MARHA, the 36-year-old who has been at the club since the start of the 2001/02 campaign; a second round pick (# 36 overall) of the Quebec Nordiques at the 1994 NHL Draft, the well-seasoned Marha skated 159 NHL games for the Colorado Avalanche, Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Black Hawks before moving to Switzerland.

HC Davos are one of Switzerland’s oldest clubs having been originally founded more than nine decades ago in 1921. It was “HCD”, as known by its popular nickname, that hired the American HERB BROOKS for the 1980/81 season after the United States had shockingly skated to the gold medal at the Winter Olympic games at Lake Placid. And, HC Davos are also the most successful team in the history of Swiss ice hockey having won 30 national championships in all with the last title arriving at the conclusion of the 2010/11 campaign.

HC Davos, to review, had great success with the addition these very same two National Hockey League stars before. Nash registered 27 goals and 47 points in 44 Nationalliga A games while Thornton added 10 goals and 54 points (sixth most in the circuit) in 40 NLA contests as HC Davos ended up placed second out of twelve teams in the regular season. Nash then added another nine goals in fifteen playoff games while a dominant Thornton led all playoff scorers with 25 points (four goals) and HC Davos swept past SC Zuerich in the final to capture a most convincing title.

Thornton ended up being named the Most Valuable Player of the Nationalliga A for the 2004/05 campaign.

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JOE THORNTON, HC Davos # 19

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Seven Games In Switzerland


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SC Zurich goaltender LUKAS FLUEELER (30), the 23-year-old, one-time Ottawa 67s netminder who would later be named to the Switzerland senior national team for the 2012 IIHF World Championships in Scandinavia, fans out with the pads to deny SC Bern forward JOEL VERMIN (92), the 20-year-old youngster who has represented Switzerland at the last two IIHF World Junior Championships, a scoring chance at the side of the net during the National League A’s final playoff series match contested at the world-renowned PostFinance Arena in Bern.
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The final series of the National League A playoffs featured a pair of upstarts in SC BERN and SC ZURICH, neither of whom had ended the Swiss regular season even ranked among the top four teams in the standings. Nevertheless, this particular encounter still produced an epic battle that raged back and forth from the PostFinance Arena in Bern to the Hallenstadion in Zurich until the issue could be finally settled. The memorable, see-saw struggle would continue unabated, in fact, up until the very last seconds of the decisive seventh game.

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Game One (Bern) … SC BERN 4 – SC ZURICH 2
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SC Bern winger J.P. DUMONT (17), the first round pick of the New York Islanders and third player taken overall at the 1996 National Hockey League Draft who went on to total 214 goals for the Chicago Black Hawks, Buffalo Sabres and Nashville Predators before arriving in the National League A to start this season, snapped a 1-1 tie with his second goal of the game late in the second period. The 34-year-old NHL veteran then assisted on SC Bern’s third for defenseman PHILIPPE FURRER, a former sixth round draft pick of the New York Rangers, seven minutes into the final frame before long-time Switzerland national team performer MARTIN PLUESS, a constituent of Furrer in Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, added a fourth with nine minutes remaining. SC Zurich pulled a power play goal back via ANDRES AMBUEHL, the one-time New York Rangers farmhand who spent the 2009/10 campaign with the Hartford Wolf Pack in the American Hockey League, three minutes from time … BYRON RITCHIE, the 35-year-old journeyman with more than 300 NHL games under his belt, registered three assists although, significantly, these would the last points that SC Bern’s PostFinance Topskorer would record in the 2012 NLA playoffs … RETO SCHAEPPI, who scored five goals for SC Zurich during the regular season, had tied the game for the visiting Lions with his fourth goal of the playoffs shortly past the midway mark of the second period.
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Game Two (Zurich) … SC ZURICH 2 – SC BERN 1
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SC Zurich winger THIBAUT MONNET (above), the 2010 Vancouver Olympian who had already represented Switzerland at six major international tournaments prior to this season, scored a massive goal with five minutes remaining in the game to complete a third period rally and lift the Lions to level terms in the final playoff series. The visitors had drawn first blood two minutes into the second period via JOEL VERMIN, the Switzerland junior international who finished tied for third on SC Bern with 11 goals during NLA regular season. However, it was Canadian import BLAINE DOWN who reacted first to a lively rebound off the boards behind the net and equalized for SC Zurich seven minutes into the final period … The well-traveled Down, who spent three seasons with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League and also played in Denmark and Italy before signing with the farm club GC Kuesnacht Lions in the summer of 2008, certainly picked a prominent moment to strike for his one and only playoff goal this term; the 29-year-old forward had totaled six goals in 24 games for SC Zurich during the regular season … Making matters worse for SC Bern on the evening, the 2010 Swiss champions lost their two-goal hero from Game One, the highly-experienced and effective J.P. DUMONT, to injury in the defeat, as well; the 34-year-old had averaged one point per game in 31 regular season contests and, more importantly, compiled 14 points (6 go 8 as) in a dozen playoff games but, like SC Bern’s PostFinance Topskorer BYRON RITCHIE, would add no more points in the final series.
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Game Three (Bern) … SC BERN 3 – SC ZURICH 0
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SC Bern center ETIENNE FROIDEVAUX (20), the 23-year-old checker who notched six goals while playing in all 50 National League A regular season games this campaign, struck for a third time in the playoffs halfway through the contest and then set up a second for 21-year-old TRISTAN SCHERWEY nine minutes into the final frame as Finnish trainer ANTTI TORMANEN’s troops regained the advantage in the title series. Aging SC Bern assistant captain IVO RUETHEMANN, the 35-year-old, three-time Olympian who has represented Switzerland at 14 major international tournaments in his long career, added one last goal with but three minutes remaining. At the other end, veteran netminder MARCO BUEHRER blocked all 28 shots faced to frustrate visting SC Zurich … A first and last strike of the playoffs for the youthful Scherwey, who scored a combined five goals in all contests during SC Bern’s 2009/10 championship season but slipped to three goals in all this year … Replacing the injured J.P. Dumont in the SC Bern line-up was fellow Canadian legionnaire JEAN-PIERRE VIGIER (Northern Michigan University), the 35-year-old veteran of 213 National Hockey League games for the Atlanta Thrashers who had been a healthy scratch for the first two games of this NLA playoff final. Vigier’s coach his final season in Atlanta had been none other than the man currently standing behind the bench for SC Zurich, the imported Canadian trainer BOB HARTLEY. Also appearing in the series for the first time was former Phoenix Coyotes defender TRAVIS ROCHE (North Dakota University), the 33-year-old rearguard who had previously played a prominent role for SC Bern during its last title-winning campaign of 2009/10 … The match produced an uglier moment or two when SC Bern defender JOHANN MORANT, who would be suspended a considerable 14 games for his aggressive actions, repeatedly struck SC Zurich center CYRILL BUEHLER in the head and then manhanded a Swiss NLA official.
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Game Four (Zurich) … SC BERN 2 – SC ZURICH 0
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Three minutes after failing on a penalty shot, SC Bern finally broke the scoreless deadlock when Switzerland veteran international IVO RUETHEMANN (32) netted a goal nine minutes into the second period and sent the visitors well on their way. MARCO BUEHRER, the 32-year-old, reliable veteran who has backstopped SC Bern to two National League A titles since arriving from EHC Chur in the summer of 2002, turned aside all 25 shots and shutout SC Zurich for a second consecutive contest. Sparkplug SC Bern captain MARTIN PLEUSS, the 35-year-old, highly-experienced center who has also represented Switzerland at 14 major international tournaments and assisted on Ruethemann’s opening tally, tacked on an empty net goal in the final minute as the visitors stormed to a commanding 3-1 lead in the NLA final playoff series … SC Zurich defenseman PATRICK GEERING, the 22-year-old who played exactly one game for Switzerland at the 2010 IIHF World Championships, was unlucky to hit the crossbar with seven minutes to go in the opening period … ZSC Lions goaltender LUKAS FLUEELER, who put on a fine display at the Hallenstadion despite the defeat, halted SC Bern’s PostFinance Topskorer BYRON RITCHIE on the penalty shot six minutes into the second period … Veteran Switzerland international center THOMAS ZIELGER, the 33-year-old who skated nine seasons for SC Bern after returning from North America during the 2001/02 campaign, was scratched from the SC Zurich line-up by trainer BOB HARTLEY and would remain so for the rest of the series; Ziegler appeared in five National Hockey League games for the Tampa Bay Lightning during the 2000/01 campaign but bolted the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League after skating in just three games to start the next season.
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Game Five (Bern) … SC ZURICH 2 – SC BERN 1
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Highly-experienced, three-time Switzerland Olympic defenseman and club captain MATHIAS SEGER (15) scored a life-saving goal ten minutes into the overtime session as SC Zurich avoided elimination in dramatic fashion at the “unique cauldron” that is the PostFinance Arena. Relatively-untested ZSC Lions goaltender LUKAS FLUEELER was the real star of the show who made it all possible by saving 33 shots from an SC Bern squad determined to end the series immediately. With their backs up against the proverbial wall, the visitors had broken through first after 37-year-old dinosaur DOMENIC PITTIS, the former 2nd round pick of the Pittsburgh Penquins at the 1993 National Hockey League Draft who later managed 86 NHL games in ten years of North American professional hockey, converted a pass from Switzerland Olympic center ANDRES AMBUEHL almost halfway through the contest but SC Bern, who outshot SC Zurich by a 17-9 margin over the first two periods, equalized four minutes later with a goal from checker ETIENNE FROIDEVAUX, his second of this final playoff series … Having skated in 94 games (3 go 18 as) while representing Switzerland at 15 major international tournaments since 1998 heading into this season, the SC Zurich skipper Seger is the most-experienced international player on either side of this final playoff series … Sitting out for a second consecutive contest was suspended SC Bern defenseman JOHANN MORANT, the 26-year-old who appeared twice for France at the Division I (old B Pool) of the IIHF World Junior Championships previously in 2005 and 2006 but plays in the National League A with a Swiss passport and, thus, does not count against the strict quota on foreigners … SC Bern defenseman JOEL KWIATKOWSKI, who logged 282 NHL games for five clubs in ten years of North American professional hockey, was a healthy scratch for the second time in three games; the 35-year-old who represented Canada at the 2009 IIHF World Championships originally signed with SC Bern in the summer of 2010 after two seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League with Russian clubs Severstal Cherepovets and SKA St. Petersburg, respectively.
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Game Six (Zurich) … SC ZURICH 6 – SC BERN 3
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With the opportunity to tie the series at hand, SC Zurich unleash a Schuetzefest and score six goals, the exact same number Canadian trainer BOB HARTLEY’s charges had totaled against SC Bern’s veteran goaltender MARCO BUEHRER (39) through the first five games of the playoff final, on home ice at the Hallenstadion. After a scoreless first period, the ZSC Lions opened up a 3-0 lead on goals by Switzerland Olympic forwards THIBAUT MONNET (7) and ANDRES AMBUEHL, as well as influential club captain MATHIAS SEGER, all in a 10-minute span midway through the second. Two Blitztore from Canadian-born Switzerland international RYAN GARDNER, the 34-year-old veteran who once played three seasons of junior with London and North Bay in the Ontario Hockey League, brought SC Bern back quickly but eternal 37-year-old National Hockey League veteran DOMENIC PITTIS, enabled by Ambuehl and Monnet, struck on the power play for SC Zurich with only a minute left in the second session … SC Bern captain MARTIN PLUESS, who previously spent four seasons in the Swedish elite league with HC Vastra Frolunda Gothenburg before returning home in 2008 and has also registered 25 goals in 88 games at major international tournaments for Switzerland in his career entering this season, responded with a power play goal and pulled the visitors to within one just two minutes into the final period. But 27-year-old Switzerland international winger PATRICK BAERTSCHI, the one-time Pittsburgh Penquins’ 7th round draft pick who spent three seasons with SC Bern before joining the ZSC Lions in the summer of 2010, aborted any comeback by scoring a big goal against his old club and just four minutes later. SC Zurich’s PostFinance Topskorer JEFF TAMBELLINI (Michigan Univ), the former 1st round pick of the Los Angeles Kings at the 2003 NHL Draft who skated in six playoff games for the Vancouver Canucks during their run to the Stanley Cup Final last season, sealed the deal by finding the empty net about a minute to go … The late goal and an assist on Ambuehl’s strike earlier in the contest amounted to the first two points of the final playoff series for the Canadian legionnaire Tambellini, the 28-year-old left wing who led the ZSC Lions with both 23 goals and 45 points during the “Qualifikation” campaign … SC Zurich defenseman STEVE MCCARTHY, the former 1st round pick of the Chicago Black Hawks at the 1999 NHL Draft who was brought in to bolster the blueline a quarter of the way through the season by ZSC Lions trainer BOB HARTLEY, sent some kind of message by blasting a puck off the post only 50 seconds into the contest … Baertschi’s goal chased veteran SC Bern goaltender MARCO BUEHRER, who traveled with the Swiss national team to seven major international tournaments from 2001 thru 2006 but only appeared in six matches collectively, to the bench six minutes into the deciding period.
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Game Seven (Bern) … SC ZURICH 2 – SC BERN 1
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A sensational goal with exactly 2.5 seconds left in the third period not only powered resilient SC Zurich to victory in the seventh and final game of the National League A final playoff series, the score also completed a spectacular comeback which saw the ZSC Lions fight back after initially falling behind admirable SC Bern three games to one. Despite being outshot by an 8-5 margin, SC Zurich managed to take the lead on the road at the PostFinance Arena in the very last minute of the opening period with a goal by MARK BASTL, the 31-year-old Swiss veteran who once played three seasons of college hockey in the United States for Findlay University in Ohio. SC Bern retaliated, however, only two minutes into the following frame when SC Bern veteran Switzerland international IVO RUETHEMANN scored his third goal of the series … The home side went on to outshoot their guests by the lopsided 16-3 margin in the second period but the ZSC Lions persevered with trainer BOB HARTLEY’s conservative tactics and profited from solid goaltending by 23-year-old LUKAS FLUEELER. SC Bern would come to regret not having capitalized on so many opportunities as SC Zurich came out of its shell to generate ten shots on goal in the final period and ultimately scored to win when imported Canadian defenseman STEVE MCCARTHY, the 31-year-old veteran of 302 National Hockey League games initially signed to a three-week contract with no guarantees by the ZSC Lions last October, picked up a loose puck in the slot between the faceoff circles … McCarthy’s Meistertreffer (championship goal) was not only the first of this 2011/12 playoff campaign for the one-time first round NHL Draft pick, the tally was also the very first goal that the 12-year professional had ever scored in the postseason in any league … Filling in for injured Canadian import BLAINE DOWN and making his first appearance of the final playoff series for SC Zurich was Slovakia international winger JURAJ KOLNIK, the 31-year-old veteran of 250 NHL games who topped HC Servette Geneva in scoring two consecutive years after leaving the Florida Panthers at the end of the 2006/07 season; a two-time performer at the annual IIHF World Championships, Kolnik had reached the National League A final playoff series with HC Servette Geneva in 2010 only to lose the title to SC Bern.
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Triumphant SC Zurich captain MATHIAS SEGER (15), who scored just two goals in 14 postseason contests but saved them both for the final playoff series against vanquished SC Bern, lifts the National League A title trophy high at the conclusion of the heart-stopping Game Seven contested at the sold-out PostFinance Arena in Bern, Switzerland.

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First-Time Swiss Charm Equals Hat Trick For Bob Hartley


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Perhaps it was the experience gathered while guiding the National Hockey League’s Coloardo Avalance to the coveted Stanley Cup title a little over a decade earlier. But SC ZUERICH losing its first seven Swiss National League A contests at home to start this 2011/12 season never did get imported trainer BOB HARTLEY down. Neither did finishing an unimpressive seventh in the regular season standings nor even even falling behind to SC Bern 3-1 in the best-of-seven playoff final.

A decisive Game Seven to be played on the road at the imposing PostFinance Arena in Bern? No problem. Apparently, in retrospect, nothing would be allowed to rattle the unflappable Hartley and prevent the 51-year-old Canadian from adding a third championship title to an already-distinguished coaching resume.

Hartley had been out of hockey since being released by the Atlanta Thrashers shortly into the 2007/08 NHL campaign and had been employed as an analyst for French-Canadian television channel Reseau des Sports when the call came in from Switzerland last spring. SC Zuerich had recently let go of Swedish trainer BENGT-AKE GUSTAFSSON, the former NHL center for the Wasington Capitals who had steered Tre Kronor to the Olympic gold medal in 2006, after only just one term. A seventh place finish in the regular season coupled with a first round exit from the playoffs was not acceptable so far as ZSC Lions management was concerned.

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A touch of class from the ‘rookie’ Canadian trainer in Switzerland, then, as the long-serving Finnish netminder ARI SULANDER skates out to replace SC Zuerich starting goaltender LUKAS FLUEELER (30) in the very last minute of Game Six at the Hallenstadion during the dramatic National League A final playoff series. It had been, of course, the 43-year-old veteran who backstopped the ZSC Lions to three national titles (in 2000, 2001 and 2008) previously. Although named the Best Goaltender at the 1998 IIHF World Championships hosted by Switzerland, Sulander will be, perhaps, best remembered for his work when Finland defeated Wayne Gretzky and Canada in the Bronze Medal Match at the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Sapporo, Japan.
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Hartley, who claimed his first professional championship piloting the Hershey Bears to the 1998 American Hockey League’s Calder Cup title, had two players follow him across the Atlantic Ocean to sign with SC Zuerich last summer. Swizerland national team veteran defenseman SEVERIN BLINDENBACHER was returning home after a season skating in the AHL for the Texas Stars. JEFF TAMBELLINI, the one-time Los Angeles Kings’ first round pick from the University of Michigan, had just departed the 2011 Stanley Cup runners-up Vancouver Canucks.

As has been hallmark of his teams throughout his career, Hartley installed a conservative, defense-first system upon arriving at SC Zuerich. But not every move made by the native of Hawkesbury, Ontario, worked out exactly as planned. The attempt to recycle 39-year-old Swedish veteran MICHAEL NYLANDER, who notched a career-high 83 points for the New York Rangers during the 2006/07 NHL campaign, was abandoned just before Christmas after the two-time Olympian was injured following 15 National League A appearances (5 go, 5 as) for ZSC.

Hartley did, however, do very well with the signing of veteran NHL defenseman STEVE MCCARTHY to a try-out contract this past October. The defense corps had been surrendering too many goals and the team were struggling to win even a single game at home, so the first-year SC Zuerich trainer turned to the former 1st round NHL Draft pick whom he had coached previously during his time in Atlanta. And McCarthy, for his part, more than certainly rewarded that faith at the end of the day.

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SC Bern’s imported Canadian center BYRON RITCHIE, the 35-year-old veteran who contested 342 NHL games for the Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks before originally signing in Switzerland with HC Servette Geneva in the summer of 2008, jostles with SC Zuerich defenseman STEVE MCCARTHY (3), who twice earned bronze medals representing Canada at the annual IIHF World Junior Championships.

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