KOSICE – Norway defeated Switzerland 3-2 tonight at Steel Arena and moved into a tie for first place in Group F with five points, making a spot in the quarter-finals one step closer to reality. Jonas Holøs had a goal and an assist for the winners while Mathis Olimb had two assists. Plain and simple, Norway wanted it more and played with greater energy.
Switzerland vs. Norway 2-3 (0-2, 1-0, 1-1) Game Sheet Photos
The win puts the team in a tie with Canada, but Canada has a game in hand. Sweden is next with four points while Switzerland remains tied with the U.S. with three points. Norway has now won the last three meetings between the teams at the World Championship, dating back to 1993.
"I think it's getting better and better every game I've played now," said Holøs. "I feel confident and good with the puck, and I'm playing a lot. It makes it a lot easier to get into a game like that."
Indeed, Holøs logged 29:47 of ice time. Winning goalie Lars Haugen stopped 39 of 41 shots in the win, and both Swiss came on power plays. The Swiss had six extra-man situations to three for Norway.
"They played the trap when they got up, and we weren't ready for that," admitted Switzerland's Ryan Gardner. "We fought back, but you can't put yourself down like that."
Norway jumped into a 2-0 lead in the first period thanks to some good shooting by defenceman Jonas Holøs. He beat goalie Tobias Stephan with a one-timer through a screen for the opening goal at 8:47.
"I got a good pass from my defence partner [Alexander Bonsaksen]," Holøs explained, "and I just tried to get it on net. It went over the goalie's pad."
The otherwise dull period was enlivened right at the end when Holøs let rip another shot from the middle of the ice on a power play. Stephan made the save, but Per-Åge Skrøder banged home the rebound before the goalie could control the puck. Only 5.6 seconds were left in the period.
Kevin Lötscher had the best Swiss chance in the period when he burst up the middle and got a clear shot away, but he drilled it into the chest of Lars Haugen.
"I think we played a great first period. We did everything. We blocked shots. We killed penalties. That's why we won today," Holøs added.
Switzerland got the only goal of the second period, on a power play, but the team still lacked any sense of urgency or enthusiasm. Julien Sprunger made a nice pass in front to Thibaut Monnet, and his quick shot beat Haugen to make it a 2-1 game. It was one of the few decent moments in the first 40 minutes with the extra man, the Swiss enjoying five mostly ineffective power plays.
Things looked grim for the Swiss when Norway went ahead 3-1 early in the third. A bad pinch allowed Marius Holtet to storm up ice. He was checked as he got a shot off, but Kristian Forsberg followed up and smacked the rebound into the open net.
Raphael Diaz made it a one-goal game again at 7:19 when his point shot on the power play found the back of the net after zipping past several players in front, but the tying goal never materialized.
Norway's next game is against Canada on Saturday while Switzerland plays Sweden on Sunday.