STOCKHOLM – Switzerland extended its winning streak at the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship to five games with a 4-1 win over Denmark and secured its berth in the quarter-finals.
Goals by Luca Cunti, Ryan Gardner, Reto Suri and Nino Niederreiter helped to extend Switzerland’s improbable run here in Stockholm. Switzerland now sits atop Group S with 14 points, one more than Canada.
Switzerland and Denmark have met three times at the World Championships with the most recent encounter coming at the 2008 World Championship in Canada. In that game Switzerland dominated that game 7-2.
The lone goal of the first period came on the power play when Frederik Storm was called for interference at 1:34.
Twenty-one seconds into the man advantage, Switzerland’s Cunti scored. Denis Hollenstein passed the puck to Simon Bodenmann whose shot was saved but Cunti was on the doorstep to put it in with a second effort.
Hollenstein, Switzerland’s leading scorer, added his seventh point of the tournament and the line of Hollenstein, Bodenmann and Cunti continues to spark the Swiss offensive engine.
"Our line brings a lot of energy and speed and tries to put as many pucks as we can on net," said Hollenstein. "The puck is bouncing our way these days."
So much about this tournament is for teams to establish an early advantage by outworking their opponent and getting out to a lead. Switzerland has done that with great success, scoring the opening goal in four of its five games in this World Championship.
The Swiss widened their lead in the second when massive forward Ryan Gardner chipped in a power play goal with 17 seconds remaining on a call to Morten Poulsen. With two power play goals on the day, the Swiss now have six in the tournament.
They have been exceptional with the man advantage, ranking second in special teams play in the tournament.
"In pre-tournament games our power play worked pretty good," said Hollenstein. "We have a lot of confidence in our power play right now but need to keep battling and keep it intense to keep going like that."
Roman Josi and Patrick von Gunten got assists. It was von Gunten’s first ever World Championship point.
Both teams had more chances in the middle frame. Switzerland outshot Denmark 13 -12.
Reto Berra got the start in goal. It was Berra’s second start of the tournament. He defeated the Czech Republic on Monday. In the 5-2 win, Berra made 37 saves.
Denmark finally solved Berra, cutting the led in half when forward Nicklas Jensen’s wrap around chance was successful. He followed up on the rebound putting it in glove side.
For Jensen it was his first senior goal in his debut game at the World Championship. Jensen recently arrived after his Vancouver Canucks were eliminated from the NHL playoffs.
"Stefan (Lassen) kept the puck in along the board and I got it behind the net and hit the open spot to bring it around and put the rebound in," Nicklas Jensen said. "It was special scoring my first goal in my first game here."
The Swiss scored a pretty goal when Roman Josi carried the puck through the Danish zone, around the net and back to the top right faceoff circle where he connected with Suri who rifled the puck on goal. It was Roman Josi’s second point of the game.
Niederreiter added another for good measure in the closing minutes of the game.
Nicklas Jensen hoped for a better debut at the World Championship but immediately began thinking about the next step for Denmark.
"It wasn't the perfect start for me at the World Championship but we'll take the positives and now focus on Belarus."