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Worlds: Team Canada Beats Swiss, Heads to Semis

Thursday, 05.10.2007 / 11:45 AM / St Louis Blues - News
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Worlds: Team Canada Beats Swiss, Heads to Semis
By Andrew Podnieks
Courtesy of

KHODYNKA--Canada advanced to the semi-finals with a 5-1 win over Switzerland Thursday afternoon in Moscow, but it wasn't pretty. The Canadians now face Sweden on Saturday night for a spot in the finals, renewing a rivalry that saw Canada win both the 2003 and 2004 IIHF World Championship gold medals at the expense of Tre Kronor.

The Swiss go home with a solid eighth-place showing. They also finished eighth each year between 2003 and 2005 before falling to ninth in Riga 2006.

"This is a learning game for us," said Swiss Head Coach Ralph Krueger. "We knew they'd be well-prepared, and we would have needed perfection for victory."

"I was involved with Swiss hockey for eight of the best years of my life, so I knew it would be a difficult game against Switzerland," said Canadian Head Coach Andy Murray. "There's not a country that's made the steps that the Swiss have in improving."

Leading the way offensively for Canada, Matthew Lombardi had two goals and Rick Nash had a goal and assist, and Shane Doan, Dion Phaneuf, and Eric Staal added two assists apiece. Lombardi has racked up five goals in his last two games, and leads Canada with six overall.

Switzerland was outmatched in size and speed and skill, the big three factors in any team's ability to succeed. Canada cycled the puck with ease and created quite a few good chances, but goalie Jonas Hiller was very solid for the Swiss.

The Swiss managed only to ice the puck several times in the first, and their occcasional forays into the Canadian end were often the result of a Canadian line change rather than a great Swiss attack. To their credit, though, they gathered like wolves around their goalie and were effective in preventing a second shot on Canada's attack.

Canada finally opened the scoring at 15:22 thanks to a bit of skill and bit of luck. Nash made a nice little steal of the puck behind the Swiss net, but he fanned on his centering pass and the puck wound up on the stick of Sandy Jeannin. He, in turn, muffed the clearing attempt, and Lombardi was right there to steal the puck. His quick shot fooled Hiller. It was Lombardi's fifth goal in Moscow.

"We knew they were going to be aggressive," said Staal. "We knew we needed to play strong defense and counter. We were able to capitalize on Lombardi's [first] goal, and that got the ball rolling. Our special teams came up big. It was good to get that start."

The game settled into an uncomfortable dullness for a while, as the Swiss wanted merely to keep the score close and the Canadians didn't have much of a challenge to respond to. Patric Della Rossa had a great chance to tie the game on a partial 2-on-1, but Canadian goalie Dwayne Roloson slid across the crease to block the shot.

Jamal Mayers doubled Canada's lead midway through the second on a fine solo effort, bringing the puck out of the corner and coming out the near side of the goal. He slid it to the far side past Hiller for his fourth goal of the tournament.

The Swiss came right back, though, when Paul DiPietro blasted a slapshot from the high slot past Roloson to the stick side just 38 seconds later. The Canadian-born DiPietro scored both goals in Switzerland's dramatic 2-0 upset of Canada at last year's Olympics. But Nash restored the two-goal lead when he banged home a loose puck in the crease on a 5-on-3 late in the period.

"We made too many mistakes in shorthanded situations," said Krueger. "We lost the game because of a lack of discipline, and Canada used their opportunities."

At 6:03 of the third, Lombardi connected for his second of the night on the power play when he banged in a loose puck. Dion Phaneuf took the original shot, but Hiller couldn't control the rebound and defenceman Beat Forster couldn't take care of Lombardi on the doorstep.

"We scored on some big 5-on-3's in that second period," said Roloson. "If we don't score in those situations, they build momentum, and then you never know what can happen in the game."

Shea Weber closed out the scoring with a long-range blast that eluded the beleaguered Hiller, who faced 43 shots.

"We knew the kind of style we needed to play," said Staal. "You gotta keep your hands down when you finish your checks, and you have to be disciplined. These are the games when you have to be better."




1 ANA 66 42 17 7 196 179 91
2 NSH 65 41 17 7 193 158 89
3 STL 63 40 18 5 197 159 85
4 CHI 64 38 21 5 188 152 81
5 WPG 65 32 21 12 180 175 76
6 VAN 63 36 24 3 182 173 75
7 MIN 63 34 22 7 179 163 75
8 CGY 63 34 25 4 178 162 72
9 LAK 63 30 21 12 171 164 72
10 SJS 65 32 25 8 185 183 72
11 COL 64 28 25 11 170 183 67
12 DAL 64 28 26 10 199 212 66
13 ARI 64 20 37 7 139 218 47
14 EDM 64 18 36 10 145 213 46


V. Tarasenko 63 31 30 27 61
A. Steen 61 19 32 6 51
J. Schwartz 56 20 27 13 47
T. Oshie 55 17 27 11 44
D. Backes 62 21 22 4 43
K. Shattenkirk 49 8 32 18 40
P. Stastny 55 12 25 11 37
J. Lehtera 56 9 24 13 33
A. Pietrangelo 63 6 27 -2 33
P. Berglund 59 8 12 -2 20
B. Elliott 20 9 2 .921 2.20
J. Allen 17 6 3 .903 2.55

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