Team Switzerland made their 2018 World Championship debut today by defeating Austria 3-2 in overtime at Royal Arena in Copenhagen, Denmark. The OT win gives them two points in Group A preliminary play.
Mirco Mueller is the Devils’ representative on Switzerland. Nico Hischier was offered a spot on the team following the Devils’ first round Stanley Cup Playoff loss to Tampa Bay, but declined due to a nagging hand/wrist injury.
The Swiss built up an early lead with Nino Niederreiter scoring 18:28 into the game to make it 1-0. Enzo Corvi and Gregory Hofmann had the assists. That goal made it 1-0 after the first period.
Gaetan Haas would double the Swiss lead 4:14 into the second when he scored from Tristan Scherwey and Mueller. The assist was Mueller’s first point of the tournament. He finished the game with the assist for a point, a plus-1 plus/minus and 20:38 of ice time spread out over 37 shifts.
From there, the Austrians began their comeback. Dominic Zwerger scored 10:36 after the Haas goal from Alexander Rauchenwald and Lukas Haudum. That cut the deficit to 2-1 in favor of the Swiss.
Austria would then tie things at two 6:28 into the third when Manuel Ganahl converted from Peter Schneider.
Time would tick away but the Austrians got into a little bit of trouble when Daniel Woger took a holding penalty with less than two minutes left in regulation. The Swiss would have about 39 seconds of power play time in the OT period.
Austria would kill that off, but Corvi would put the game away for the Swiss anyway. It started with a nifty passing play by Niederreiter on a give-and-go. Corvi would slam home the rebound on a very pretty play after Niederreiter drew the Austrian goaltender, Bernhard Starkbaum, far out of his crease. Switzerland came away with the 3-2 win and two points.
The Swiss would out shoot Austria by a wide margin, 41-19 with goalie Leonardo Genoni making 17 saves while Starkbaum made a whopping 38.
Switzerland stands in third place in Group A currently with two points and a 3-2 goal differential. Unfortunately for them, they are in a group with Russia, who won their opening game 7-0 and Sweden, who won theirs 5-0, so goal differential will be a hard way to keep up in the event of a tie in the standings. Austria pulls a point and stands in fourth place in the group.
Next up, the Swiss play Slovakia tomorrow. We will also have coverage of the USA-Denmark game later today here on the site.