Reto Berra was sensational in goal for Switzerland, but in the end the Czech Republic scored twice in the shootout to win, 2-1. Up next, the quarter-finals.
Incredibly, it was the first time in four games, dating back to 2010, that the Czechs have defeated the Swiss. Their last win was back in 2008.
The game had no meaning in the standings as the Czechs had already secured third place and the Swiss fourth, but you wouldn’t have known it for the effort of both sides.
The Czechs will now play Finland in Prague while the Swiss will play the United States on Thursday.
Berra stopped 27 of 29 shots, many of which were in-close scoring chances, and certainly deserves consideration from coach Glen Hanlon to start the next game based on tonight's performance.
An open first period produced entertaining hockey but only one goal. That came at the 16:56 mark with the Swiss enjoying a two-man advantage. Damien Brunner threaded a nice pass through the slot to Kevin Fiala on the back side, and Fiala’s one-timer snuck through the pads of Ondrej Pavelec coming across his crease.
Although there was no scoring in the second there were plenty of chances. Berra made several quality stops while looking composed in the Swiss goal, but the save of the night was by Czech defenceman Michal Jordan.
With the Swiss enjoying a man advantage, Pavelec made a save off a point shot, but the rebound came to Brunner on the back side of the play. He snapped a quick shot at the empty net, but Jordan slide across and blocked the sure goal with his chest.
The Swiss were playing with fire by trying to sit on their lead and rely so heavily on the spectacular play of Berra. Midway through the third, the home side finally connected. Martin Zatovic took a cross-ice feed and drilled a one-timer over the shoulder of a beleaguered Berra at 10:44, sending the sold-out crowd into a frenzy.
The Swiss, which had held the lead for some 34 minutes, now had to find their offence again. The Czechs wouldn't let them, and the game ended up in a shootout. Fiala opened with a goal, but the Czechs got markers from Jakub Voracek and Vondrka for the win.