A 4-3 victory did not save Switzerland from elimination at the Ice Hockey World Championship, in a game that changed quickly from hard-fought to ugly.This content was published on May 4, 2009 - 22:37
The Swiss, who needed to beat the United States in regulation time on Monday evening to advance, did not make the quarterfinal despite holding the lead twice.
Ron Hainsey scored two power play goals for the US in a match that featured punishing hits, boomeranging broken sticks, flying players and a percussion section of drums and cowbells in the Swiss capital.
"It's a heartbreaking win. We battled to the end, had a little low in the second period, they took advantage of it we came back in the third, but it just wasn't good enough to win after sixty," said Swiss captain Mark Streit.
"Whether we win or lose in overtime, it doesn't matter because we're out now. We had our chances, yesterday and today, we just couldn't put it together," he added.
"The pain of this loss is great," said Swiss coach Ralph Krueger. "The line between success and failure is extremely narrow at this level."
In contrast to their lacklustre loss against Sweden on Sunday, Switzerland played desperately from the beginning, managing several shots on US goalie Robert Esche in the opening four minutes.
But the game, which saw a clean start and end-to-end drives for both teams, turned decidedly nasty at the 7:15 mark.
With the Swiss rushing into the US zone, David Backes of the US slammed Swiss player Julien Sprunger into the boards as he was getting up from a previous fall. Sprunger flew back-first into the corner, losing his helmet and crumpling to the ice.
He was carried off on a stretcher and later to the hospital with a neck injury. Backes received a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct.
The incident fired up the home squad, playing before a near-capacity crowd of 10,317.
When US captain Dustin Brown was sent off for roughing 30 seconds later, Switzerland gained a two-man advantage and made the most of it. Andres Ambühl beat Esche at the 9:42 mark, putting his team up 1-0.
Switzerland finished the scrappy first period with ten shots on goal versus the US's six.
"We found a way to survive the first period, then I think we controlled the game the rest of the way," said Ron Wilson, the US coach.
Ron Hainsey opened the scoring for the US at 25:57. With his team on a power play, Hainsey took a shot at Gerber. The Swiss goalie at first appeared to make the save but the puck ended up dribbling through his legs.
With the score even, Switzerland were again under pressure to finish with a win in regular time.
Romano Lemm answered at 31:03. With Sandy Jeannin of Switzerland directly behind Esche, Lemm positioned himself in front of the American goalie. When Jeannin sent the puck to the front of the net, Lemm tapped it in, setting the pro-Swiss audience into a roar.
US get even
The US, who played more physically throughout the game, did not relent. At 35:08, Montréal Canadien Chris Higgins drove a slap shot from near the blue line, beating Gerber on his glove side. Keith Ballard assisted.
The US appeared to score a goal minutes later, only to have the goal called back on account of a high stick. That didn't stop them from continuing to hit Switzerland.
With less than two minutes remaining in the second period, Andres Ambühl of Switzerland was sent off the ice for slashing. A minute later, officials called Sandy Jeannin for tripping, giving the US a two-man advantage.
With the Swiss in full defensive mode, Ron Hainsey, mimicked Higgins and drove an almost identical slap shot past Gerber's left side, putting the US up by a goal.
Martin Plüss answered with a wrist shot at 49:42 for Switzerland, assisted by Felicien Du Bois and Ivo Rüthemann.
His goal evened the score and brought out the cowbells but fans at the PostFinance Arena in Bern knew it would take more for the Swiss to move on.
The question was: When would Krueger pull Gerber in favour of an extra attacker for Switzerland? The answer came at 58:34.
Gerber headed to the bench and Switzerland went for broke but it was not enough.
The game went to overtime. Roman Wick of Switzerland scored 13 seconds in. It meant nothing.
"The Swiss never gave up, we knew what they were playing for. I thought we did a good job. Roman Wick's goal was a great individual effort in the end, to win the game for Switzerland," Wilson said.
Both goalies recorded 21 stops. Mark Streit, Martin Gerber and Sandy Jeannin were named the best players of the tournament for Switzerland.
swissinfo, Justin Häne at the PostFinance Arena in Bern
Finland upset Canada
Hannes Hyvonen scored in a penalty shootout as Finland broke Canada's five-game winning streak after a 3-3 tie.
Canada won their group however and avoided a quarterfinal showdown with the US.
Finland had jumped out to an early 2-0 lead before Jason Spezza pulled one back for Canada.
Niko Kapanen then scored his sixth of the tournament to restore the two-goal advantage late in the second period.
But Dany Heatley scored almost immediately to close the gap again, and added another midway through the final period to set up overtime.
The point for Canada means it will play Latvia on Thursday, while Finland play the US a day earlier.
Canada outshot Finland 50-29.
Russia vs Belarus
May 6, 4:15pm | Bern
Finland vs US
May 6, 8:15pm | Bern
Canada vs Latvia
May 7, 4:15pm | Bern
Sweden vs Czech Republic
May 7, 8:15pm | Bern
May 8 | Bern
May 10 | Bern
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