For Switzerland, Sunday's qualifying round game against Sweden at the Ice Hockey World Championship was a do-or-die opportunity. They barely made it out alive.This content was published on May 3, 2009 - 20:21
After having notched up shaky first wins against France and Germany, seventh-ranked Switzerland have lost three straight. They must defeat the United States in regular time on Monday evening to advance to the quarterfinal.
"Now we try to get a good night's sleep, come back tomorrow, bring some more energy and play our best game possible," said Switzerland's Ryan Gardner. "We need to be professional about it. Our chance is still there since some teams have won some games for us."
With the 4-1 win, the Tre Kronor are through to the final eight, something they have done each year since 1938. Switzerland have only missed the quarterfinals once in the last six years.
Passion seemed the exception rather than the rule for coach Ralph Krueger's seventh-ranked squad, which last week in a game against Russia demonstrated they were indeed capable of inspired play.
Perhaps the near-capacity crowd of 11,327 was hoping for as much in such an important test. "Sweden and Switzerland are taking neutrality to a new level," quipped an employee of the International Ice Hockey Federation.
A display of urgency in the final ten minutes and a last-minute goal from Romano Lemm failed to distract from the fact that for much of the game, Switzerland had phoned it in.
New Jersey Devil Johnny Odyua, playing in his first game of the tournament for Sweden, opened the scoring with a wrist shot past the right side of Swiss goalie Martin Gerber at 5:47 in the first period. Loui Eriksson and Mattias Weinhandl assisted.
Odyua's goal was the only highlight of an otherwise uneventful first period. The Swiss made three trips to the penalty box and Sweden two in the opening 20 minutes. Sweden had 11 shots compared with Switzerland's seven.
Switzerland opened the second period with a penalty at 23:58. A minute later, Johan Harju of Sweden made the home team pay for it, flicking a shot from the right side and beating Gerber for the second time.
The two-goal deficit did little to spur the "Schweizer Nati" and sucked much of the air out of the PostFinance Arena, Europe's biggest hockey venue.
By that point, fans were more enthralled by couples kissing on the big screen and by a group of cheerleading females who were wearing far less than most people would in such close proximity to ice.
"We couldn't find our way into the game after giving up a quick 1-0 goal again, and we aren't pleased with the way we tried to get back into it," said Krueger.
The third period continued with many of the same problems plaguing the Swiss team throughout the tournament: missed passes, missed shots and a lack of follow-up. Coach Krueger's suggestion that his team go for the "ugly" goals went unheeded.
Switzerland drove into the Swedish end five minutes into the final third, only to lose the puck and watch Linus Omark of Sweden race back at Gerber.
Omark passed to Martin Thörnberg, who drew the Swiss netminder far out to his right side. That left the net woefully wide open for Omark to score the game's third goal.
Switzerland responded they were resigned to their fate. When Sweden's Kristian Huselius was sent to the penalty box, it was hardly noticable.
Sweden's Johan Andersson scored the team's fourth goal with less than five minutes remaining. Romano Lemm responded for Switzerland at 56:44 but as the lustily whistling Swiss fans knew well, it was too little, way too late.
Captain Mark Streit won the player of the game award for Switzerland and Dick Tärnström won for Sweden.
swissinfo, Justin Häne at the PostFinance Arena in Bern
Canada defeat Norway
Canada extended their winning streak on Sunday afternoon against Norway.
Canada, ranked second and playing their fifth game of the tournament, won 5-1 in Zurich.
Canada have outscored their opponents by a combined score of 32-6. They have not been behind in any game this tournament.
Drew Doughty of Canada had a goal and two assists. Matthew Lombardi, Dan Hamhuis, Steven Stamkos and Jason Spezza also scored for the Canadians.
Mats Zuccarello Aasen scored for Norway.
Canada ended the game with 47 shots on goal compared with Norway's 30.
Canada next face Finland on Monday. Norway play Slovakia.
Switzerland vs US
May 4, 8:15pm | Bern
May 6-7 | Bern
May 8 | Bern
May 10 | Bern
Complete scheduleExternal link
This article was automatically imported from our old content management system. If you see any display errors, please let us know: email@example.com
In compliance with the JTI standards