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Krueger looking for evolution against Slovakia

Krueger gives goalie Lars Weibel some gentle stick during training

(Keystone)

Switzerland's ice hockey players will be stepping up their world championship preparations on Friday with the first of two friendly matches against the world vice-champions of Slovakia.

The Swiss coach Ralph Krueger has named an experienced squad for the match in Lausanne and has called for a higher quality of performance than in recent games.

"This time there are no novices in the team," he said. "All the players know how we play and I expect them to evolve to a new level."

With Lugano forward Flavien Conne out injured and Zug's André Rötheli suffering with flu, Krueger has made two late changes to his squad, calling in Sandro Rizzi from Davos and Ambri's Alain Demuth.

Demuth missed out on November's Deutschland Cup tournament after himself contracting flu, and is now set to make his international debut. Zurich Lions' Patric Della Rossa and Sandy Jeannin have also been called up for the first time.

After using the Deutschland Cup and December's Tatra tournament to field a number of young players, Slovakia's coach Jan Filc is also going with an experienced side for the Lausanne encounter.

The two teams should be well aware of each others strengths and weaknesses, having met no less than 12 times during Krueger's tenure. The balance of the previous results is strongly in the favour of the Slovakians, who have chalked up seven wins, two draws and just three defeats against Switzerland.

Following Friday's match the teams will not have to wait long for meeting number 14. On Sunday the two sides are due to face each other again, this time in the Swiss capital Bern.

swissinfo with agencies


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