The critical man advantage materialized when Austrian blueliner Lorenz Lindner was ejected with a five-minute boarding major for hammering Jonas Taibel from behind into the boards in the Austrian zone. Biasca dug the puck out in a goalmouth scrum and joyfully backhanded it into the gaping cage.
The Swiss will face the winner of Monday's Canada-Finland game in the quarter-finals.
"In the quarter-finals it’s going to be a tight game," said Switzerland's Joshua Fahrni, who also scored against Austria. "Of course, the power play will be important, but more than that if we get a chance, we have to score. We have to play hard as a team, as a unit. This is our chance. Let’s go!"
Austria finishes 10th and last overall, as it did in 2021. However, for the second consecutive year, there is no relegation. So the Austrians will take up their swords again this Christmas at the 2023 tournament slated for Halifax and Moncton.
"We didn’t get the start we wanted. but the kids regrouped in the second and I thought we were as good as the Swiss team," said Austrian coach Philipp Pinter. "We had two or three posts."
Versus the Austrians, Taibel also scored for Switzerland. Fabio Ritzmann and Dario Allenspach each chipped in two assists.
For Austria, captain Leon Wallner and Ian Scherzer scored their first goals of the tournament. Defenceman David Reinbacher had a pair of assists.
Wraneschitz, who also backstopped Austria in 2021, returned after ceding place to Leon Sommer in the 7-0 loss to the defending champion Americans. He was busy as the Swiss outshot Austria 39-22.
Noah Patenaude, who started when Switzerland fell 3-2 to Sweden in the opener, was back and delivered another solid performance in net.
The Swiss were upset with themselves for underachieving in their 3-2 loss to Germany on Monday. Against Austria, they came out hard and dominated possession from the opening faceoff.
Yet against the flow of the play, Pinter's Austrians drew first blood on their first shot. Reinbacher’s shot from the blue line deflected and fooled Patenaude, squirting through his legs and bouncing off the right post. As the goalie tumbled back into his net, Wallner pitchforked the puck through his legs at 8:08.
The goal ended an Austrian scoreless drought of 166:28 going back to Jonas Dobnig’s early second-period goal in the 4-2 loss to Germany. Would the long-awaited playing of Falco’s “Rock Me Amadeus” (the Austrian goal song) spark some Mozart-like brilliance from the underdogs?
Wraneschitz kept his battle level high on a mid-period Swiss power play, sliding across to deny a great chance for Biasca.
Yet resolute Swiss forechecking yielded another man advantage with Austria's Maximillian Preiml sent off for holding. At 17:31, the Swiss cashed in, as Fahrni snared the puck in the left faceoff circle and sent a laser over Wraneschitz’s glove.
The Austrians had to be happy to escape to the dressing room with a tie through 20 minutes after getting outshot 13-2.
"We [Switzerland] felt that we were the better team in the O-zone," said Fahrni. "We talked about that during the intermission. We just had to stay calm and wait for our chances. In the end, we won, and that’s the only thing that counts."
Austria picked up its tempo in the middle frame, but it was the Swiss who grabbed their first lead of the afternoon at 14:17. Ritzmann powered in off left wing to test Wraneschitz in tight and the rebound was there for Taibel to convert for his second goal in as many games.
The Austrians didn't wilt, however. At 19:25, Scherzer snuck into the slot to tip Reinbacher's point shot through Patenaude. Surprised, the Swiss goalie fell back on his knees with a clear aura of "Are you kidding me?" It seemed fair, though, as shots were even at 13 apiece in the period.
There is no pure sniper on this Swiss roster like Timo Meier or Kevin Fiala. Like the German teams of yore, Bayer's boys have to keep on grinding for everything they get.
Wraneschitz continued to stare down his foes in the third period. Swiss captain Simon Knak knifed the puck past the goalie's left post on the rush and Dario Allenspach hammered it into his pads from the high slot. The tension mounted as the clock ticked down on regulation.
"Their goalie played well but we kept telling each other to shoot the puck," Fahrni said.
After Biasca gave Switzerland the 3-2 lead, the Austrians had no reply. They only pulled Wraneschitz for the extra attacker with 10 seconds remaining.
"To get that five-minute major when you are right there in the game was tough to swallow," Pinter said. "They had a good PP but the disappointment is big. I feel bad for the kids. They deserved better today. I’m very proud of our group."
The Swiss are now guaranteed to improve on their ninth-place finish under Bayer in 2021. They were fourth in 2019 under Christian Wohlwend and fifth in 2020 under Thierry Paterlini.
Despite being geographical neighbours, Switzerland and Austria have only met once before at the World Juniors. The Swiss won 6-2 on 2 January 2004 in the relegation round in Hameenlinna, Finland.