After Saturday's loss, Switzerland’s quarter-final hopes are up in the air. Coach Marco Bayer's boys need a win in their last group stage game against Austria on Monday. Both teams are pointless through three games.
Versus the Swiss, Bennet Rossmy set the pace for Germany with a goal and an assist. Fellow forwards Thomas Heigl and Haakon Hanelt each added a single. Yannick Proske had a pair of helpers.
"I think we had a really good start," Rossmy said. "We got two goals [in the first period]. We got the momentum after the power play. I think we just worked hard together. We blocked shots and we drove to the net. It was just incredible to see how the team worked together and the motivation on the bench."
Captain Simon Knak and Jonas Taibel scored for Switzerland,
German starting goalie Florian Bugl won his duel with Switzerland’s Kevin Pasche as Germany outshot Switzerland 29-25.
"Today was not a good game," Knak said. "We all know that when we play our best game, we would win against Germany. I think we're a better-skilled team. But at the end, the battle level was not enough."
After outshooting Austria 44-17 in their preceding 4-2 win, coach Tobias Abstreiter's Germans had positive vibes heading into this contest. Recent history was on Deutschland's side too. Despite an undermanned roster and a 16-2 loss to Canada in 2021, Germany achieved a sixth-place finish in the Edmonton pandemic bubble.
Conversely, the Swiss were coming off a tough 7-1 loss to the defending champion Americans, and didn't fully get up to speed until the third period, when they outshot Germany 14-4.
The German power play entered this game clicking at an impressive 42.8 percent (3-for-7), whereas the Swiss PP was the tournament’s worst (0-for-8) through two games.
The 19-year-old Eisbaren Berlin forward’s first World Junior goal was a little slice of redemption. In the 5-1 opening loss to the U.S., Rossmy was kicked out with a checking-to-the-head major that led to Logan Cooley’s winner.
"I'm feeling way better," Rossmy said. "The first two games were a little bit hard for me. A little bit heavy legs! It didn't go so well for me personally, but I think now I'm in the tournament."
At 8:16, Thomas Heigl stretched the German lead to 2-0. On a broken play, Proske’s flubbed slap shot deflected to him near Pasche’s right post and the twin brother of Nikolaus Heigl bounced it in.
Knak struck back with just nine seconds left to cut the deficit to 2-1. Accepting a nice backhand pass from Dario Allenspach on a 2-on-1 rush, he beat Bugl high to the blocker side. Swiss supporters hoped it would be a momentum-shifter.
To start the second period, bitterness surged and a neutral-zone scrum ensued when Switzerland's Joshua Fahrni kneed Germany's Danjo Leonhardt and was sent off for two minutes.
Just past the midway mark, Hanelt had a chance to give Germany a two-goal lead on a breakaway when he chased down a long flip pass in the Swiss zone, but the puck was still bouncing, and the Berlin-trained Gatineau Olympiques forward put it into Pasche's pads.
Hanelt wasn't to be denied again, though. He busted through the neutral zone, cut around defender Rodwin Dionicio in the left faceoff circle, and zinged a wrister far side past Pasche's blocker at 16:43. It was a fitting reward in a period where Germany outshot its opponents 14-5.
To wrap up the middle frame, Switzerland's woes increased when Knak was sent off for carelessly pushing German assistant captain Maksymilian Szuber into the end boards.
Knak emphasized that there was room for Swiss improvement all around: "We need to be sharper in the D-zone. We forwards need to be [coming] harder back so that the D can pressure."
In the final stanza, an early Nikolaus Heigl high-sticking penalty on Fahrni opened the door for Switzerland to get back into it. But the PP remained punchless. Pasche gave his teammates a chance, stoning Thomas Heigl right on the doorstep near the nine-minute mark.
At long last, with German captain Luca Munzenberger in the penalty box, Switzerland's power play clicked at 11:40. The Swiss bashed away furiously at rebounds, and Bugl couldn't stop an unimpeded Taibel from cashing in.
But despite Swiss players sacrificing their bodies, like Dario Allenspach taking a teammate's slap shot off the helmet, that was as close as Bayer's crew would get. The Germans thwarted a last-minute flurry with Pasche pulled for the extra attacker.
Looking ahead to Monday, Knak said: "We need to battle hard against Austria, and then we get another game. Our goal is to go to the quarterfinals. So we just need to win the game."
Germany has now won two straight games versus Switzerland after losing the previous seven encounters dating back to the 1997 World Juniors.
The Germans have one more preliminary-round game remaining against Sweden on Monday.
"We want to play a really good game against Sweden to prepare for the quarterfinals," Rossmy said. "Just play the way we want to play, and then we will see how it goes."
The Swiss boast just one medal all-time at this tournament. All-star goalie David Aebischer backstopped his nation to a surprising bronze medal in 1998. Germany is still seeking its first medal.