Swiss post 3rd straight shutout win
by Andrew Podnieks|16 MAY 2023
The Swiss are playing like medal contenders, now 3-0 and closing in on a spot in the quaryer-finals.
photo: Matt Zambonin / IIHF
Switzerland continued its winning ways with an impressive and dominating 5-0 win over Kazakhstan tonight in Riga. The win gives the Swiss nine points on three regulation wins, good enough for top spot in Group B. The loss leaves the Kazakhs with a record of 0-1-0-2 and two points, out of the playoff picture but still ahead of Slovenia, last and currently in position to be relegated.

The shutout was the team's third straight to start the tournament (180 minutes and counting) and inches closer to their team record of 201 minutes set in 1939. Tonight, the clean sheet was provided by Leonardo Genoni, his second. They will have a chance to better that mark on Thursday night when they play Slovakia. Kazakhstan next plays tomororw night against another undefwated team, Canada.

The Swiss played penalty-free hockey tonight and outshot the Kazakhs by a 36-13 margin. They now have a goals for/against differential of 15-0.

"It probably looked like an easy game, but we wanted to improve on the last two games where we had bad second periods," said Romain Loeffel, one of the goalscorers. "Tonight, we wanted to put out a solid 60 minutes, and that’s what we did. We tried to be on the puck every time we could to really force them to make mistakes. If we do that all night long, it’s going to be tough for them, but it’s also tough for us to do it for 60 minutes."

"We lost today, but it’s a great experience for our young guys," suggested Kazakh forward Abay Mangisbayev. "They’re a really fast, skilled, great puck-moving team with many players in the NHL. It's difficult to play against players of that level, but we can learn things and maybe improve ourselves."

Buoyed by two wins by shutout and by the additions of Kevin Fiala and Damien Riat, the Swiss came out flying, outshooting the Kazakhs 17-4 in the opening period and firing on all cylinders. They also got the early goal, at 4:48, to give them added momentum.

Gaetan Haas took a monster shot from just inside the blue line, and Andrey Shutov kicked out a juicy rebound which Tobias Geisser had no problem popping into the half-empty cage. The Swiss continued to buzz after that, got the only power play of the period, and kept the puck out of harm’s way of Genoni, increasing their shutout streak to start the tournament to seven periods.

Shutov made a sensational save off a close-in chance from Enzo Corvi soon after the faceoff to start the second, but it was a mere delaying of what was to come. The Swiss made it 2-0 at 7:34 that started with another long shot, this by Michael Fora that was deflected in front by Fabrice Herzog.

Three minutes later, it was 3-0, and the Swiss were moving the puck with confidence and speed. This time it was a quick steal behind the Kazakh net by Herzog that started the play. Tanner Richard claimed the puck and fired a pass to the slot where Riat snapped a quick shot past Shutov before he knew what had happened.

The Swiss added what they thought was a fourth goal off a nice series of passes, but referee Liam Sewell ruled that there was goalie interference when Andrea Glauser's shot entered the net.

No matter. They got that one back just 44 seconds into the third on a power play. Nino Niederreiter drew the penalty, then scored the goal. Standing in the middle of the Kazakh box, he took a pass from the side from Denis Malgin, and fired a one-timer in.

Moving the puck around with ease as the Kazakhs collapsed in their own end, the Swiss had the puck on a string most of the period. They got a fifth goal off another shot-rebound combination. This time Sven Senteler took the shot and Loeffel converted the generous rebound.

The team held the fort the rest of the game to ensure Genoni's shutout, and the Swiss went home with a dream start that has medal contention written all over it.
Switzerland vs Kazakhstan - 2023 IIHF WM