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Swiss ice hockey hopes dashed after Canadian defeat

Switzerland's Ivo Rüthemann (l.) battles for the puck with Canada's Ryan Smith


Switzerland's successful run at the ice hockey world championship has come to an end after being defeated by Canada 3-5. This is only the third time in the past nine years that Switzerland has not made it through to play in the semi-finals.

Coming in as the under-dogs, Switzerland kept their opponents on their toes during the quarter-final action at the Ice Palace in St Petersburg. Canada said that Switzerland's form kept them playing like spectators.

Canada scored first after the Swiss gave the puck away in their own end with just 16 seconds left in the first period.

In the second period, the Swiss tied the score on a powerplay when Ivo Rütheman wristed a shot from the slot past Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jose Theodore.

Canada reciprocated with a goal from Kris Draper, while Switzerland's Michel Riesen pulled the side abreast on another powerplay.

The Swiss took the lead in the final period, when Olivier Keller rifled one between the goaltender's pads from the circle. Twelve minutes later, the Canadians scored the tying goal, and then finally the puck that put paid to Switzerland's hopes of making it to the semifinals.

Switzerland's coach, Ralph Krueger, summed up the outcome by saying he felt both sadness and pride at his team's performance. Switzerland did well to make it to the quarter-finals, notching up surprise wins over Russia and Latvia, and honourable draws with ice-hockey powerhouses the United States and Sweden.

swissinfo with agencies