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Krueger promises backlash against Canada

Krueger makes his point during training in Hanover Keystone

Speedy revenge will be on the minds of the Swiss ice hockey team on Friday as they open their Deutschland Cup campaign against Canada.

The match will be the second meeting in four days between the two countries following Switzerland’s 6-4 defeat on Tuesday to a Canadian side made up mainly of Swiss-based players.

The Deutschland Cup match will see Canada’s German league ex-pats take up the reins, with free agents Greg Parks and Chris Lindberg the only Canadian players due to play in both matches.

Switzerland, on the other hand, will take to the ice in Hanover with only one change to their starting line-up, Langnau’s Martin Gerber starting in goal after coming on halfway through Tuesday’s match.

But after Tuesday’s disastrous start, in which Switzerland let in three goals in less than eight minutes, coach Ralph Krueger is promising a very different attitude, even if the personnel remains the same.

“Those first eight minutes were certainly a wake-up call,” Krueger told swissinfo after the Zurich match. “We were really badly punished for our poor play, but we are going to react.”

Krueger has made a habit of recovering from bad starts. Despite losing every season-opener under his guidance, the Swiss national side has managed to make the last eight of the World Championships three times in a row.

In this year’s Championships the side were threatened with relegation from the top flight, but bounced back from a bad defeat against France to secure a convincing win over the Russian hosts.

Ahead of Friday’s game, Krueger pointed out that defeat can bring important lessons, although he has never been happy to lose.

“Tuesday’s defeat has made my work a little easier,” he insisted, “because the players will now listen to me with much greater concentration. But certainly I would rather have lost in Timbuktu, where no-one could see than in a crowded Hallenstadion in front of live television cameras.”

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR