The Czech Republic came away with two points in what was a wild one in Copenhagen at the Royal Arena. The Czechs beat Switzerland in a shootout in a game that was penalty filled and, at times, just plain crazy.
The Swiss power play had been nonexistent for the majority of the World Championship tournament. All it took was a meeting with the Czechs, a notoriously undisciplined team in the tournament, to right that ship.
The Czechs ended the game with 26 penalty minutes to the Swiss team’s 18. There was also a shorthanded penalty shot for Switzerland later in the third period that we will get to.
The first goal of the game was scored by Nino Niederreiter for the Swiss, set up when Libor Sulak of the Czech Republic took a double minor for high sticking at 10:35. It was a 4-on-4 goal because Switzerland’s Chris Baltisberger also took a tripping penalty at the same time. It was 1-0 Switzerland and we were off. Niederreiter’s goal was assisted by Gregory Hofmann.
The Czechs tied things when Mirco Mueller was called for tripping at 14:41 of the first period. Dominik Kubalik scored on that power play on a goal from Martin Necas at 16:21.
Late in the first period, with less than 30 seconds left, Czech netminder Pavel Francouz was called for delay of game. It would only take the Swiss 47 seconds into the next frame to take a 2-1 lead. Hofmann scored on that one from Sven Andrighetto and Raphael Diaz.
The Swiss would then add an insurance goal at the 2:07 mark when Simon Moser scored with assists to Joel Vermin and Mueller. That one was a rare even strength goal in this game. It was now 3-1 Switzerland.
The Czechs would cut the lead to 3-2 when Switzerland’s Chris Baltisberger was called for boarding at 2:46. It was event strength at 4-on-4 because Jakub Krejcik had taken a high sticking penalty 30 seconds prior and that penalty had not expired yet to put Czech Republic on the power play when the goal was scored. It was scored by Michal Moravcik from David Sklenicka and Tomas Hyka at 4:09. It came whne Hofmann broke his stick on the penalty kill and had to go to the bench to get a new one, essentially putting the Swiss down 5-on-3. The Czechs took advantage and scored on the play.
Switzerland would double up their lead, however when Niederreiter scored his second on the power play. The Czech’s Dmitrij Jaskin was called for tripping at 5:56. The Swiss goal came at 7:21 off assists from Moser and Ramon Untersander. It was now 4-2 Switzerland.
It would only take 22 seconds for the Czechs to get one back, though. Jaskin scored at 7:43 from Michal Moravcik and Andrej Nestrasil to make it 4-3.
The Czechs would tie things up before the end of the second when Michal Repik scored from Dominik Kubalik at 14:26. The Czechs had fought back in a penalty filled game to tie things and that would be the end of the scoring until the shootout.
A scary moment for Mueller late in the second when Jaskin came at him, cross checking him under the chin. The TSN announcers speculated Jaskin getting thrown out of the game, but he only received two minutes for cross checking. In the ensuing scrum, the Czech Republic’s Filip Hronek was called for roughing, as was Switzerland’s Diaz and Mueller took two for charging. As was mentioned, this game was penalty filled and kind of chippy. We will see if Jaskin receives supplemental discipline by the IIHF for his actions.
In the third period, the Czech Republic’s Libor Sulak was called for holding on a breakaway by Switzerland’s Vermin at the 14:53 mark. Vermin was awarded a penalty shot, but was stopped by Francouz. That kept the third period scoreless and we were headed to overtime.
In OT, the Czechs were given a good opportunity when Mueller was called for holding at the 2:41 mark. They would not convert and we continued on to a shootout.
In the shootout, goaltenders Leonardo Genoni and Francouz went at it in a duel. Genoni stopped Jaskin then Switzerland’s Noah Rod missed against Francouz. Genoni stopped Hyka and Andrighetto missed against the Czech goalie. Martin Necas missed in the next round and Niederreiter’s attempt was stopped by Francouz. Genoni stopped Nestrasil and Enzo Corvi shot wide on Francouz. Michal Repik scored in the next round for the Czechs and the game was on Hofmann’s stick. His shot was saved by Francouz and that was the game. The Czechs came away with the 5-4 shootout win.
The Swiss outshot the Czechs 29-28 with Genoni making 23 saves while Francouz made 25. Mueller’s stat line included the assist for a point, six penalty minutes, an even plus/minus all in 16:34 of ice time over 34 shifts.
WIth that overtime loss (shootout losses count as OT losses), the Swiss currently stand at one win, one OT win and an OT loss for six points. That is enough to put them in third place in Group A, two points ahead of the Czechs. They have a 9-7 goal differential.
Its a quick turnaround for the Swiss, who next play tomorrow against Belarus.
In some other news, the Binghamton Devils today announced the signing of two players: defenseman Tariq Hammond, who inked a one-year AHL contract and d-man Brian Strait. Strait, 30 years-old, signed a two-year, two-way contract worth $675,000 at the NHL level. Hammond is 24 and was a teammate of Will Butcher’s at Denver University where they won the NCAA National Championship in 2017.