UFA – Victor Rask scored the only goal of the shootout to give Sweden a tense 3-2 win over Switzerland. Sweden changed goalies prior to the extra shots, a unique strategy that paid off.
Although Joel Lassinantti played the full 65 minutes of regulation and overtime, coach Roger Ronnberg went with Niklas Lundstrom for the penalty shots.
"I told the coach I wanted to go in," Lundstrom admitted after. "I like shootouts, and I think I'm good at them." He stopped all three Swiss shots while all three Swedes went to the stick side of Swiss goalie Melvin Nyffeler.
"It's definitely different," Nyffeler suggested. "It's not very often three players go for the same spot." The difference was that Mikael Vikstrand and Sebastian Collberg tried to deke, only to be thwarted by great pad saves. Rask, the third shooter, faked a shot and then fired, beating the goalie over the right pad.
Sweden also beat the Swiss in a shootout at last year's U20, 4-3. This year;'s win gives the team five points and first place in Group A while the Swiss, with the extra point, are now in second with four.
"It's a tough way to lose," Nyffeler said, "but we played really well and the point in the standings will help."
Switzerland played a close and focused first period and skated off with the only goal. That came on an even-man rush that quickly turned in their favour when Lino Martschini made a great pass in the slot to Eliot Antonietii who got off a quick shot that eluded Joel Lassinantti.
The Swedes had the only two power plays of the period and weren’t wanting for good chances, but they either lacked touch around the Swiss net or were stymied by goalie Melvin Nyffeler.
The Swiss continued their strong play in the second. For the first half of the period they were relentless in checking the Swedes, and Martschini had a great chance early on to make it 2-0. He had the puck alone in front but blasted a shot wide.
It looked things might change after the Swedes tied the game at 10:32 on the power play. Mikael Vikstrand made a nice cross-ice pass through the middle and Sebastian Collberg blew a hard one-timer to the short side before Nyffeler could get over to the far post.
Just a minute and a half later, though, the Swiss replied in kind. On a power play of their own, Mike Künzle watched a long shot hit the crossbar and fall to his feet. He scooped the puck in before anyone could check him, and just like that the underdogs had re-taken the lead.
The rest of the period was surprisingly evenly played, and Switzerland headed to the dressing room after 40 minutes with a 2-1 lead. But the game changed again early in the third when Emil Djuse’s routine shot found its way through traffic and past Nyffeler to tie the game again.