Burakovsky downs Swiss
Burakovsky downs Swiss
Shootout win for Sweden
Sweden kept up the pressure on the Czech Republic at the top of Group A with a shootout victory over Switzerland following a 2-2 tie in Moscow.
Andre Burakovsky, playing his first game of this championship after jetting in from Washington at the weekend, converted two penalty shots to Nino Niederreiter's one, giving the Swedes victory over a dogged Switzerland team and move into second place in the Group A table, two points behind the Czechs.
Sweden's captain, Jimmie Ericsson, paid tribute to his colleague's instant impact - and warned that there was more to come.
"Andre's going to get better every day," he said. "It's great to have him here, coming in and scoring two shootout goals. It's just perfect."
Defeat for the Swiss after leading twice in regulation leaves Patrick Fischer's men tied with Denmark on eight points. Both teams have one further game to play: the Danes face already-relegated Kazakhstan tomorrow evening while Switzerland wraps up its campaign against the table-topping Czechs on Tuesday afternoon.
But Niederreiter took comfort from his team's performance against one of the strongest teams in the group, despite the final scoreline.
"Today we were the better team 5-on-5," the Swiss forward said. "The biggest thing is we have to stay out of the penalty box. We always put ourselves in a tough situation. Tonight, they scored two power-pay goals, and that's all they had."
Denmark's surprise success over the Czechs earlier in the afternoon put extra pressure on Switzerland in the race for fourth place - and some fans from the Alps were seeking divine intervention to help their team's cause. One of them was dressed as the Pope, accompanied by the Vatican's Swiss Guard, adding a splash of colour beind one of the goals.
At times it seemed that Reto Berra might have a guardian angel protecting his net when Sweden twice got the puck past him only to see the goal wiped out by the officials. In the fifth minute Jimmie Ericsson thought he'd opened the scoring when he swatted a high-flying puck through the goalie's legs, only to be pulled up for a high stick.
Then in the second period Oscar Fantenberg fired home from the left-hand circle, but Alexander Wennberg was adjudged to have sinned as he tumbled into Berra moments before the shot came in.
Moments like those characterised a game that was full of endeavour but rarely produced fluent hockey, as Sweden's goalie Markstrom observed.
"Either team could have won. It was a sloppy game," he said. "Missed passes, a lot of whistles, lots of penalties. It wasn't smooth, no rhythm. It was choppy. Either team could have won it."
In between those disallowed goals, Switzerland took a deserved lead late in the first period when Sven Andrighetto got his second of the tournament. The Montreal Canadiens' forward took his chance when Wennberg blocked Jacob Markstrom's view of his shot from the deep slot. Andrighetto had earlier gone close with Sweden's best chance of the opening stages, narrowly failing to turn a Niederreiter pass into the net at the far post.
Sweden came out for the second with greater intensity while Switzerland struggled to maintain its offence as a series of minor penalties disrupted both teams. And after Fantenberg's disallowed effort the Tre Kronor found an equalizer shortly after the midway mark, taking just six seconds to convert a power play.
Johan Sundstrom, the player fouled to set up the advantage, stayed on the ice and reacted first to the rebound from Linus Omark's shot to squeeze the puck through traffic and tie the game.
But indiscipline harmed the Swedes. With the game poised at 1-1 going into the third period, a string of minor penalties against the Tre Kronor left the Scandinavians unable to build up any momentum on offence. And, inevitably, the pressure on the PK eventually told with Denis Hollenstein's power play goal in the 45th minute setting the Swiss on the road to victory.
Hollenstein got the decisive touch on a thunderous slap shot from Eric Blum to beat Markstrom and give Switzerland a 2-1 lead.
However, Sweden's Gustav Nyquist can't keep out of the goals in this competition, and his seventh of the World Championship tied the game. Lurking on the edge of the circle, he stretched out a stick to deflect Adam Larsson's pass into the net and make it 2-2 with 10 minutes left to play.
The Red Wings forward then had a chance to win it as Alexander Wennberg played into another dangerous position only for the shot to fly over the bar. And, when he was fouled by Felicien du Bois to give Sweden a minute of 5-on-3 overtime with just over four minutes left it seemed that the Swiss might roll over at the last.
But Switzerland killed that penalty and, in a frantic finale, almost snatched a last-gasp winner when Yannick Weber tested Markstrom with a shot on the breakaway.
The goalie had the answer to that one, though, taking the game into the extras as Switzerland ended up in overtime for the fourth time in six games.
Back to Overview