STOCKHOLM – Switzerland just keeps on rolling. In a game where they avoided complacency and featured a potent power play, Switzerland scored three first period goals that carried them to a 7-1 win over Slovenia.
The forward line of Simon Bodenmann, Denis Hollenstein and Luca Cunti teamed for three goals and nine points in the first period. This was a breakout game for all three players.
So far, Switzerland head coach Sean Simpson has navigated Switzerland through an incredible start to the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship with four wins.
"We're playing our system for 60 minutes now," said Nino Niederreiter. "We had a strong start against Sweden, and we've just built on it. We have a new game plan for every team and know what we have to do. We have to play simple hockey. That's the key."
When Slovenia’s Rok Pajic scored at 6:13 on a rush starting when he took a pass from Ziga Pavlin in his zone, it didn’t look promising for the Swiss. Pagic’s snapshot beat Martin Gerber and gave Slovenia the one-goal advantage.
After beating Canada and the Czech Republic, Switzerland could have come in taking Slovenia lightly. But they did not.
"When you're the underdog, it's an easier game to play, but today we were the hunted." Said Niederreiter. "They came out really strong and got the first goal, but we pushed each other hard and told ourselves we have to win this game."
Three first period goals after the Pajic tally put the game out of reach.
Bodenmann scored off a rebound shot. Hollenstein’s pass to Cunti led to a shot that was saved by Andrej Hocevar but put in at 14:49.
Slovenia did not help themselves with the penalties they took. Ales Music was sent off for slashing and then Rok Ticar for tripping. In both cases, Switzerland made their opposition pay for taking penalties.
At 17:39 with Music in the box, Cunti added a go ahead goal with Kristen out of position and the net wide open. With 37.6 seconds remaining the period and Ticar in the box, Hollenstein added his first of the game to make it 3-1. Their three goals came on 16 shots on goal.
Switzerland added three more goals in the second. Hollenstein scored his second of the contest. With Julien Vauclair and Julian Walker getting credit for the helpers.
Slovenia was veryt unsettled at this point and nothing seemed to be going their way. Slovenia was called for too many men on the ice with that man advantage Simon Moser scored for Switzerland. Andres Ambühl widened the lead with seven second left in the second, chasing Hocevar from the game to be replaced by Robert Kristan.
Ryan Gardner added a third period marker making it 7-1 where it stood.
The list time Switzerland scored seven or more goals was at the 2008 IIHF World Championship when they beat Denmark 7-2.
This was Switzerland’s fourth win in the fourth clash between the men’s national teams from the two countries since their first encounter in 1996.
Nino Niederreiter’s three game goal scoring streak was snapped but he did get an assist on the Moser power play goal in the second.
"Those three wins at the start were great." Said Ryan Gardner. "Some people say it was a tough schedule, but I think it was good to get at them early. I think the main thing is playing solid defensively."