They outhustled Canada in all three zones and were the more determined team for 60 minutes, deserving the victory, which is no longer rare.
In the last six meetings between the teams going back to 2013, the Swiss have emerged victorious four times.
Today's game was played before a sold-out crowd of 5,676 decked out in red and white. Unfortunately for Canada, all but a handful were wearing Swiss colours. They were loud and raucous all game, chanting and clapping their heroes' every move.
The game marked the 120th in the long career of Swiss assistant captain Andres Ambuhl, setting an IIHF record for top-level World Championship play. He was honoured with a video tribute in a pre-game ceremony alongside IIHF President Luc Tardif.
"It’s the perfect ending of the day," said Ambuhl. "It has been a really cool day so far, and then finishing it with the win, that’s perfect. I will remember this day for sure because we played Canada and beat Canada. That sticks in your head for sure."
The win moves the Swiss into first place in Group A with a still perfect 5-0 record and gives them the inside track to play the 4th-place team from Group B in the cross-over quarter-finals. Canada, 4-1, now sits in second place. Both teams, however, still have two games remaining.
"It was a fun game," said Canada's Matt Barzal, who had two assists today. "We haven’t really had a crowd like this since we’ve here, whether they cheer for the other team or for us. It was a blast, good energy. It’s always good with people in the building. We had power plays we didn’t capitalize. We gave them a couple of goals. It’s a good team over there, the hardest we have played so far. It’s a bit of a wake-up call. We’ll come back against Denmark and have a good one."
Indeed, Canada plays Denmark on Monday and France on Tuesday to close out the preliminary round while the Swiss take on France tomorrow and Germany on Tuesday.
"They're one of the favourites," added Swiss captain Nico Hischier, one of the golascorers. "One hundred percent, to beat a team like gives us confidence. We knew we're a good team. We gotta believe. Now we proved it, but we still have two games left, and we still want to improve our game and learn from the little mistakes we still do."
Soon after the opening faceoff, they were whistling, however, because one of their own, Timo Meier, incurred a major penalty for boarding. But then they were cheering soon after because the best chances during that Canada advantage were had, in fact, by the Swiss. Goalie Logan Thompson had to be sharp on good shots from Michael Fora and Pius Suter, making a quick toe save off the latter.
Then, the Swiss thought they scored, but video review determined there was goalie interference on the part of Hischier, who jammed hard at the puck under Thompson to push it in.
"I probably pushed his pad a little bit," Hischier conceded. "That's how the puck came out. So I think it was the correct call. I obviously would have taken it, but on the other hand, we didn't need it tonight. So it's all good."
It was Canada that wound up with the first score when Kent Johnson barrelled down the left side and banked a shot in off Leonardo Genoni from behind the goal line at 11:52.
But we were only just beginning. Just 59 seconds later, the Swiss tied it when Fora’s high shot from the slot eluded Thompson.
Canada went ahead a second time at 14:11, scoring short-handed. Adam Lowry collected the puck at his blue line off a turnover, and as he went in on goal he lost control of the puck on the deke. The move fooled Genoni all the same and the puck slid between the goalie’s pads.
And for a second time the Swiss responded quickly. Dean Kukan got the puck in the slot and waited patiently as he moved left, and near the goal line he roofed a shot over Thompson’s shoulder to the short side.
The final minute produced two more goals, Canada striking first yet again. This time Matt Barzal kept the puck in at the blue line and slide a smart pass to Drake Batherson, who moved in front and beat Genoni to the stick side with 56.6 seconds left.
And for a third time the Swiss responded, this time off a faceoff win in the Canada zone on a set play. Denis Malgin won the puck back to Suter at the top of the circle, and he fed Jonas Siegenthaler moving in from the left. He beat Thompson with just 8.4 seconds remaining.
The Swiss carried their momentum over to a much more controlled second. They went ahead for the first time in the game at 6:13 on the power play when Hischier snapped another high shot, short side, this time glove side, but even more impressive was how the Swiss contained Canada the rest of the period. Genoni had few difficult chances, and his mates kept the game under control.
The Swiss went up by two early in the third during a delayed-penalty situation. Suter came in over the line on a two-on-one and snapped a shot under the glove of Thompson at 3:41 to make it a 5-3 game and send the fans into a frenzy yet again.
Canada had two power plays later in the period but the Swiss were hard on the puck and killed them off. Meier finished the scoring with an empty netter at 18:01.
"We showed a lot of character," Meier added. "We've got great leadership with guys staying calm and not going like a roller coaster, but staying in the middle and emotionally strong. I think we can be proud of the character we showed today. But also at the same time we keep our feet on the ground. We know there's two more tough opponents and a long way ahead of us."
"You can't win them all," Max Comtois said philosophically. "I truly believe that you've got to lose one in this tournament to kind of put your team together. You know, we battled. It wasn't good enough, and now we refocus. We got two more games, and that's it."