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Swiss defy odds to take Sweden to a draw in ice hockey qualifier

Switzerland have again defied the pundits, and drawn 1-1 with Sweden in their world cup ice hockey qualifying match.

The Swiss were given little chance of holding out against the Scandinavians, but strong goalkeeping and an impressive performance by Thomas Ziegler ended the game in a tie.

Switzerland were the first to score, with Ziegler smashing home the first goal of the match in the 48th minute. It took the Swedes nine minutes to retaliate, when Kristian Huselius equalised.

Much of the credit must go to Switzerland's goalkeeper, Reto Pavoni. He was drafted in earlier in the week for the match against the Russians, which sensationally ended in a 3-2 victory for the Swiss.

His performance was matched by Ziegler, who also scored the decisive goal against the Russians.

The Swiss now need just one more point to guarantee themselves a place in the quarterfinals. A draw against either Latvia or Belarus in next week's matches will be enough to reach the last eight.

If Switzerland do make it into the quarters, their chances could be strengthened by the arrival of American Hockey League forward, Michel Riesen. His team, the Hamilton Bulldogs, have been knocked out of the AHL play-offs, leaving the Biel-born player available for selection once the qualifying round is finished.

swissinfo with agencies

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