Finland, not knowing what to expect from Switzerland, who had not yet played a game, had a slow start early. The team regained its footing in the second period and without a late slip in the 3rd, the Finns would`ve gotten three points instead of two.
|Finland - Switzerland 4:3sn (1:2, 1:0, 1:1 – 0:0 - 1:0)|
|Goals and assists: 10. Lotscher (Lemm), 15. Suri (Lemm), 60. Sciaroni (Bykov, Wieser)
- 18. Puustinen (Kousa, Jalvanti), 23. Pesonen (Sallinen, Lajunen), 44. Malinen (Liivik), 66. Salminen.
Referees: Charron, Larking - Blumel, Carlman.
Power Play Goals: 1:0. Spectators: 980.
|Finland: Helenius - Lehtivuori, Lajunen, Purolinna, Jarvinen, Jalvanti, Kousa, Malkamaki - Aaltonen, Kemppainen, Salminen - Pesonen, Sallinen, Warn - Lucenius, Juutilainen, Puustinen - Liivik, Lahde, Malinen - Poysti.|
|Switzerland: Mayer - Weber, Josi, Welti, Maurer, Sbisa, Geering, Stoop - Berger, Froidevaux, Jacquemet - Wieser, Bykov, Sciaroni - Donati, Schlagenhauf, Lemm - Augsburger, Suri, Lotscher - Hollenstein.|
It is hard to know what to expect from a team that has not yet played. With mostly new players from last year’s team, it is even hard to watch last year’s film. Thus, Finland did not know what to expect in its second game of the tournament versus Switzerland.
On the other hand, Switzerland watched the Finns drop their decision yesterday to Russia. They knew Finland would be hungry.
It was Switzerland that came out early to grab the lead. Looking confident and loose before the game, the Swiss dominated play in the Finland end and had looked extremely solid. The craftiness and creativity of Finland was lacking today – except for the goals in the shootout.
Switzerland took a 2-1 lead into the locker room after the first period. It would’ve been 2-0 if not for the late Finland power play goal by Juusi Puustinen. Kevin Lotscher, a player for Lausanne (SWI), score the first Swiss goal and Reto Suri added the second.
In the second period, Finland seemed to settle down. Their normal fast paced and perfect skating techniques, qualities that were apparent in their game against Russia yesterday, returned today. Finland evened the score just 2:45 into the 2nd period. Harri Pesonen grabbed the tally for Finland to give them a clean slate.
The third period started out, in many ways, the same as the second did. Finland was in the face of its Swiss opponents and generated a few excellent opportunities; they just couldn’t puck the puck in the net. That changed 3:05 into the third, Jarkko Malinen gave Finland the go-ahead goal. While they out-shot Switzerland 14-8 in the period, it seemed like they would never relinquish the lead.
Gregory Sciaroni almost single-handedly got a point for Switzerland in the standings in their first game. With just 46 seconds left, Sciaroni got off a beautiful shot that went top left corner on Finland’s Helenius. All Helenius could do was shake his head – he knew a goal that late could be costly. This goal rejuvenated the Swiss squad. They almost scored a game winning goal very late. Sciaroni’s goal forced overtime.
In overtime, much of it was back and forth. Both teams had opportunities to score but could not capitalize – thus needing a shootout to settle the score.
Shootouts, by their very nature, are extremely thrilling. Each of the three goals scored were truly highlight reel goals – they were all pretty, going to the top left corner – one on a backhand and the other two were the products of a nasty move to fake-out the goaltender.
Finland started quick – they scored on their first two shots by Puustinen and Salminen, and Helenius came up with a great save to put them in a position to win. Sciaroni scored on his first attempt – it was his second of the game but it did not count because they weren’t the winners. Switzerland’s goalie, Robert Mayer, even stopped the 3rd Finnish shot. It seemed like Switzerland was destined to rally back and from a 2-0 deficit in the shootout and a 3-2 deficit in the game to force more shots.
It was not to be. On the final shot, Reto Suri was stoned as he tried to go five hole. Helenius and the Finns finally earned the opportunity to have their flag raised and their national anthem played.
"Sure, it makes you angry to give up the late goal and the win - but our guys played hard in overtime and gave me two goals to work with in the shootout, so it was pretty easy work for me," Finnish goaltender Riku Helenius said after the game.
After the game, when asked if playing again tomorrow after a loss would hurt the Swiss, goaltender Robert Mayer responded “No, I think it’s more of an advantage. We’ve got the tempo, we’re no longer anticipating our first game and what to expect – it’s already happened,” he said.
Onward and upward for both the Swiss and Finland – who is preparing to play against Kazakhstan on Saturday.
NOTES: Gregory Sciaroni (SUI) and Joonas Lehtivuori (FIN) were named the players of the game for their respective squads. Finland out-shot Switzerland 38-28.