International Ice Hockey Federation

Swiss blank Belarus

Swiss blank Belarus

Genoni shutout, Belarusians lose fourth straight

Published 10.05.2017 19:10 GMT+2 | Author Lucas Aykroyd
Swiss blank Belarus
PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 10: Switzerland's Reto Schappi #19 scores while Belarus's Kristian Khenkel #18, Kevin Lalande #35 and Dmitri Korobov #89 look on during preliminary round action at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. (Photo by Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Belarus can’t buy a win in Paris. Coach Dave Lewis’s team suffered its fourth straight regulation loss, falling 3-0 to the Swiss on Wednesday.

Reto Schappi stepped up with a goal and an assist, and Andres Ambuhl and Cody Almond also scored for Switzerland. The Swiss played a methodical, hard-working game, unperturbed by their 4-3 shootout loss to host France less than 24 hours ago.

"It was really a tough loss yesterday," said Swiss assistant captain Philippe Furrer. "Everybody was so disappointed. We were so sure that we were going to win against France. We wanted to react today, and I think we did it the right way."

Swiss goalie Leonardo Genoni registered his second shutout of the tournament. Switzerland outshot Belarus 23-14.

With just three Group B games remaining, Belarus is virtually out of quarter-finals contention. They have now lost to all the premier contenders. Even more disturbingly, the country that finished seventh at both the 2014 and 2015 Worlds has scored a tournament-low three goals.

"We talked about them playing late last night and taking advantage of that," said Belarus goalie Kevin Lalande. "I thought we did the opposite. We came out flat. We took some stupid penalties. We gave them a lead, and that set the tone for the rest of the game."

Belarus will try to get its first points on Friday versus the French. The Swiss get two days off and will battle Canada on Saturday.

"We’ve got to find a way," said Lalande. "Friday’s a big game for us. We’ve beaten France in the past. We have a good track record against them. So we’ve got to come out hungry and forget about tonight."

Here, early in the cautiously played first period, due to a technical error, the game clock would not stop counting down. Time was kept with a stopwatch, and the PA announced the remaining time at each stoppage.

Schappi showed his timing was just fine when he opened the scoring on the power play at 17:54. Standing at Lalande’s crease, he banged in the rebound from Ramon Untersander’s drive from the left faceoff circle. The Belarusians took three minors and were outshot 12-5 in the opening stanza.

The Swiss were slightly more aggressive than their opponents, but this was still a waiting game. At 15:29 of the second period, Ambuhl made it 2-0. Denis Hollenstein sent a savvy backhand pass from behind the goal line and the veteran, playing in his 14th straight Worlds, put it under the cross bar for his team-leading third goal

Things opened up and the Swiss got more chances. Pius Suter was foiled by Lalande on a backhand deke on a clear break, and Vincent Praplan, who had two goals against the French, got hauled down on another glorious opportunity, giving Switzerland a late-period power play.

In the third, Almond salted away the victory when he stickhandled in off right wing and zipped a wrist shot over Lalande's glove at 7:55.

"It’s always nice to contribute for sure," said Almond. "It was a great play by Schappi to give us a 2-on-1 there. I saw the D-man cheating, so I went short side."

Looking ahead to Canada, Furrer said: "Canada knows us now. That’s the problem! Maybe they underestimated us a little bit [in the past], but now they know Switzerland is fast. For sure we need to just put our weapon on the ice, our speed, and then we will have a chance to win against this big nation."

Veteran Belarusian forward Andrei Kostitsyn returned to the lineup after missing the 6-0 loss to Canada due to an injury.


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