International Ice Hockey Federation

Swiss do it better

Swiss do it better

Almond helps deliver solid 3-0 win over Norway

Published 07.05.2017 23:12 GMT+2 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Swiss do it better
PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 7: Switzerland's Reto Schappi #19 celebrates after scoring while Norway's Mattias Norstebo #10 and Henrik Haukeland #33 look on during preliminary round action at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. (Photo by Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Scoring chances were few and far between, but the Swiss made the most of theirs and took a big step to qualifying for the quarter-finals in the process.

Cody Almond, a 27-year-old native of Calgary, Alberta, had a hand in every score, notching a goal and adding two assists.

Almond made his international debut in 2015, playing eight games for the Swiss at the Worlds that year, but he didn't record a goal.

"It’s a great feeling," Almond enthused after. "I flew my dad over from Canada, so he got to witness my first goal. I know my mom and brother are tuning in back in Canada too. For sure, it’s a special feeling."

Leonardo Genoni stopped all 35 Norwegian shots to record his second career World Championship shutout.

The win leapfrogs Switzerland over Norway and into second place in the Group B/Paris standings. The top four in each group advance to the quarter-finals while the team with the poorest record will be demoted for 2018. 

"We wanted to play a solid game, solid defence," said Reto Schappi. "We started off very well and got two goals in the second. A lot of good stuff happened for us: good defence, very good goaltending."

"They won more battles than us," conceded Andreas Martinsen. "I think they looked like they wanted to win more than we did. They were just competing harder all over. They were first on every puck, and we couldn’t score on our power play. We didn’t deserve to win."

It looked for the longest time like one goal would win this game. For more than half of it teams struggled handling the puck or making successive passes, let alone creating good chances around the goal.

Denis Malgin burst up the middle in the first for a break, but Henrik Haukeland made a nice pad save. 

Early in the second, Simon Bodenmann had a fine chance, and soon after Norway's captain Jonas Holos snuck off the point on a power play, took a back-door pass, and drilled a shot on goal that was nicely stopped by Leonardo Genoni.

Romain Loeffel hit the crossbar with another shot, and a few minutes later he set up--finally!--the game's first goal.

He whipped a pass from the boards to the front, but Mattias Norstebo inadvertently tipped the puck right onto the stick of Schappi. Schappi snapped it in the back side at 12:04 of the second.

On the line's next shift, they made it 2-0. This time it was along outlet pass up to Thomas Rufenacht moving into the Norway end. He made a nice pass to Almond cutting to the goal, and Almond redirected it off Haukeland's shoulder and in. 

"It was a great pass from Rufie," Almond said. "He came over the blue line, cut in, and put it right on my tape. I just shot it and was happy to see it go in."

Pius Suter made it 3-0 midway through the third on a power play. Almond made a sensational, no-look back pass from the side of the goal right onto Suter's stick, and he made no mistake from close range.

The Norwegians had their best chance to score soon after when a Ken Andre Olimb shot was redirected by Patrick Thoresen, but the puck smacked the post dead on and stayed out.

A little later, Olimb hit the post himself, but again the puck stayed out.

Switzerland now has the day off before playing hosts France on Tuesday. The Norwegians play Slovenia earlier that day.

"We saw their game today," Schappi said of France's stunning 5-1 win over Finland this afternoon. "They played very well. We played against them in the preparation already. We know they have some nasty [skilled] players. They play pretty aggressive and have some good goaltending. We’ve got to be ready for that."


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