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Swiss suffer third hockey defeat

Switzerland's Mathias Seger feels the weight of Canada's Wes Walz Keystone

Switzerland's ice hockey players have lost for the third time at this year's world championships, going down 6-2 to Canada in Friday's second round match.

This content was published on May 4, 2001 - 17:27

Desperately seeking points for a place in the quarter-finals, Ralph Krueger's men had made a great start against a Canadian side entirely made up of NHL players. With 11 minutes played it was the Swiss who grabbed the first goal, Bern defender Martin Steinegger making good use of a powerplay to fire in the puck from long-range.

But within six minutes the lead had changed hands. First Brad Isbister put the Canadians back on level terms, flicking in after a desperate scramble around the Swiss goal crease. Then, seconds later, Edmonton's Ryan Smyth showed quick reactions, collecting the puck as it rebounded off the back board before slapping it past Martin Gerber in the Swiss goal.

Hopes of a much-needed Swiss fightback began to fade as the second period got underway with Canada being awarded their first powerplay of the match. The North Americans benefited from the one-man advantage almost immediately, Vincent Lecavalier taking a pass from Jeff Friesen and sliding in the Canadian's third goal.

A second goal for Isbister along with two great breakaways in the third period from Scott Walker and Steve Sullivan ensured a more than comfortable victory for the Canadians. Young Lugano forward Flavien Conne provided a second goal for Switzerland, beating the Canadian goalie from close range, but the damage had already been done.

With three defeats from their opening four games, Switzerland now stand on the brink of elimination from this year's tournament. A win on Sunday against Russia would still leave Ralph Krueger's team a chance of reaching the quarter-finals but only if a number of other results also go their way.

by Mark Ledsom, Hanover

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