We completed the qualifying round of the tournament with a perfect 3-0 record. Our final game of that round was against Team Slovakia. We knew heading into this game that it was going to be our first test of the tournament, as they have a hard-working team. The game was full of emotion as it seemed there was a scrum after every whistle. I think that this was the type of game that we needed to help us get prepared for the next round of games. We were able to stay disciplined and won the game, 7-3. I thought my line played well, and once again Marty played great chipping in with four assists. After going scoreless in my previous game I was able to help out offensively with a goal and an assist.
After completing the qualifying round, we headed into the second round of play consisting of three games. These games decided the final seeding for the medal round games, so we couldn't afford to lose any ground if we wanted to finish atop of our division. The good news heading into this round was the arrival of family members for the players and staff. After being away from their wives/girlfriends and kids for a while now, the players and staff were able to spend quality time with their loved ones as they arrived. Ironically Marty and I were the only ones without any family members able to attend, so we got to spend more quality time together. We are now roommates over here in Switzerland and we are having a lot of fun.
Game 1 of the second round was against a very talented Czech team lead by former NHL star Jaromir Jagr. This game had been the biggest game for us by far this tournament, and right off the bat we were ready to go. It was a penalty-filled affair and special teams played a huge factor in the game. Our power-play finished the night 3-for-5, while the stellar play of our PK group held their power-play scoreless going 0-for-8. Even though they outshot us, the play of our goaltender, Chris Mason, helped us to a 5-1 win. I was able to chip in with 2 goals and an assist, while Marty had a goal and an assist. The chemistry between Marty and I is defiantly helping us out so far in the tournament. The win was a big one for us as we kept our perfect record in tact and our confidence rolling.
Game 2 of this round came against a very defensive-minded Norwegian team. Before the game Marty and I had some roommate bonding time as I shaved his head in our hotel room. He thought it was getting a little long so I helped a teammate out (it looks good!). Once again we got off to a quick start, accumulating a 3-1 lead heading into the first intermission. The pace of the game felt as if it slowed down in the next two periods. The combination of their style of play and a bunch of penalties could have been the reason. The final score of the game finished 5-1 in our favor to improve our record to 5-0 so far this tournament. I finished the game with one goal on which Marty gave me a perfect pass in the slot.
We are heading into our final game of the round and it is a huge game for us. We need to at least bring the game into over time against Finland if we want to finish first in our division. Hopefully our team can keep our great play up and give our family and fans something to cheer about!
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Diaries from Switzerland:2nd Installment
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