STOCKHOLM – Switzerland continued its unbeaten streak at the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship with a 3-1 win over Norway. With six wins, Switzerland finds themselves in position to possibly win their group.
Switzerland has 17 points to Canada’s 16. Switzerland now needs a win over Belarus or a Canada loss to Slovenia to clinch the top spot in Group S heading into the quarter-finals.
Norway came into this game with a golden opportunity to secure a place in the next round. A regulation win would have clinched a quarter-final spot for Norway in place of the Czechs.
"We were already in the quarter-finals and could play without pressure, but Norway had a lot of pressure," said Mathias Seger. "We've lost a lot of important games to Norway over the last few years, so it was important to beat them. They've kept us out of the quarter-finals several times."
In fact, Norway held an advantage having defeated Switzerland at both the 2010 and 2011 World Championships, both by the score of 3-2.
Switzerland scored its three goals from all possible scenarios. Contributions were spread out with three different goal scorers. Nino Niederreiter, Simon Bodenmann, Denis Hollenstein, Ryan Gardner and Luca Cunti would not get on the scoreboard with the consistency they had in previous games but the Swiss did not miss a beat.
The first by Simon Moser would be scored at even strength at 6:05.
Some nice extra effort in front by Moser led to the goal. Martin Plüss cycled the puck to the left of Norway’s net throwing a shot on net. That was swatted in as Moser was off balance and falling to the ice. Captain Mathias Seger, making his 15th World Championship appearance, received the second assist.
The second goal of the first would be scored with Switzerland one man down at 15:33. With Eric Blum in the penalty box, defenceman Roman Josi scored to make it 2-0.
Reto Suri broke up a play at the point and built speed through the neutral zone and into Norway’s end. Suri slipped a pass between his legs to Andres Ambühl for a shot. Josi, trailing on the play, pounced on the rebound.
Switzerland’s special teams play shorthanded would also prove important in the game as they had four high percentage chances.
"We took way too many penalties, which could have cost us the game, but our penalty kill was great, which is why we won," said Niederreiter.
The power play once again proved sharp for the Swiss. Patrick von Gunten scored to put Norway in a three-goal hole. The goal was von Gunten’s first of the World Championship.
Norway cut the lead to 3-1 in the third when Ole-Kristian Tollefsen scored with 17 seconds remaining in a penalty to Severin Blindenbacher. The embattled Tollefson scored in his first game back after being suspended by the IIHF World Championship Disciplinary Panel.
Norway settled down after a difficult first to play a much better game. They took the play to Switzerland but could not overcome their start.
Norway is now set for a final Preliminary Round game showdown on Tuesday against the Czech Republic for a spot into the next round. Should Norway prevail they will earn their third straight quarter-final appearance.
But they have plenty of work ahead of them before even considering that.