Switzerland coming off a huge win versus Czech Republic while Canada has been clipping along nicely withs comfy wins versus Italy and Germany.
The Swiss start goalie Gerber over Aebisher but no let down in play early as Gerber (wearing his NHL Carolina Hurricanes mask) is playing out of his mind.
Broduer looks a bit tired and unsteady and is coming out of his net a little *too* much for my liking but doing his soft goalie hands routine with some long lead passes and even getting passes back from the D (which isn’t my favorite play).
Bertuzzi had an apparent goal disallowed when the play had been whistled down since he was in the crease. Sakic, Iginla and Bert are playing OK but not as dominant as recent games and overthinking the plays a bit. Bert’s positional play and passing looks very good and he buried one guy into the boards.
In general, Canada is getting most of their chances right in front of the goal but the Swiss are collapsing down low and gobbling up loose pucks – especially on their 6 unsuccessful power plays.
St. Louis and Nash are stepping up their play. Smyth, Doan, and Draper need to demonstrate why they are on this team with some inspiried energic play – this is tough with a penatly filled period including a 5-3 which resulted in the second Dipietro goal for the Swiss. Lecavalier isn’t real assertive and looks a bit out of sync however Richards impresses me with his excellent passing and vision.
Nash was robbed by Gerber (and the replay judges to some degree). He ripped a shot from right side and Gerber (the guy has ESP today) came across and grabbed the puck out of the air. The momentum of the puck carried his glove into the net but the replay was inconclusive – circumstantial evidence only since you couldn’t clearly see thepuck over the line. Bummer, but Canada shouldn’t be dependant on shaky goals and should be up by a couple by now but Gerber is playing awesome and Canada is not making sharp decisions. The Swiss are hustling and supporting each other while the Canadians have been getting out of position when they try to land big hits.
In the third period, … Canada needs to step back to the hash marks to shoot and bring the game away from the boards and into the middle and going to have to possess the puck for the third period or else they will go down in flames.
Are we seeing history? Swiss has never beat Canada in Olympics and this Games hasn’t been short on upsets. The Swiss are led by Mark Streit and Dipietro – two players with Montreal Canadiens ties. Great play and sporting spirit by the mostly Swiss (and Swedish) Elite league players.
The third period sees Canada pummel the net but to no avail – another almost goal when Joe Thorton curled it right onto the goal-line thorugh Gerber pads and his d-man tucked it back into the his equipment.
The 3rd period is another penalty fest with calls (some rather weak) going both ways including Vinny taking 2 + a 10 minute misconduct for boarding and complained on his way to the box. He might sit next game if we have another player eligible to play.
More hectic play by the Canadians down the stretch but the team play of the Swiss and the insane goaltending of Gerber carried the day.
Just when Switzerland thought they had had the biggest day of their hockey history after beating the Czechs, they come back with another goalie and beat a tired and disappointed Canadian squad. Crazy times – all bets are off!
Another Canadian ex-pat Dipietro, along with Gerber of course (about 45 saves i think) was the star. Really a good game which makes the loss sting a little less. Canada should be proud too of Canucks-abroad working as coaches and GMs and building the sport world-wide. The Swiss love hockey and, after seeing the young Swiss squad play fast, inspired hockey versus Canada at the World Juniors, things look bright for Switzerland now and in the future.
One more note: Has there ever been more pounds out on the ice for a team in the history of hockey than when Canada iced Nash, Bertuzzi, Thornton, Pronger and Blake? That is a lot of hockeyplayer.