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Canada Falls to Switzerland

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs

February 18, 2006

TURIN, Italy (CP) -- Former NHL forward Paul DiPietro scored two goals to help Switzerland to a stunning 2-0 victory over Canada at the Winter Olympics on Saturday.

DiPietro, a native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., scored in the first and second periods while Martin Gerber was a standout in goal as Canada's high-profile stars outshot the modest Swiss 49-18, including 24-1 in a desperate third period.

The Swiss were already on a high after a 3-2 victory over the powerful Czech Republic on Thursday.

Canada and Switzerland are both 2-1 in preliminary round play. Canada plays Finland on Sunday, while Switzerland faces Germany.

A large contingent of Swiss fans among the crowd of 4,769 at Torino Esposizione were hopping, singing and waving their white cross flags as their team defeated Canada for the first time ever in Olympic competition.

Their chanting and whistling hit a fever pitch in the third period as Canada attacked relentlessly and Gerber stood his ground.

Canada is now 7-1 against the Swiss at the Games, including a 33-0 rout in 1924 that is the most lopsided win in Olympic history.

DiPietro played 192 NHL games, collecting 31 goals and 49 assists with Montreal, Toronto and Los Angeles.

His NHL highlight was the 1993 playoffs, when he helped the Canadiens win the Stanley Cup with 13 points in 17 playoff games. DiPietro has played in the Swiss league since 1998-99.

Canada ran into a hot opponent that has been working together for several weeks to prepare for the Games.

They had a chance to bury the Swiss early, but Canada went 0-for-5 on the power play in the first period, including a 30-second two-man advantage.

A turnover in the neutral zone by Joe Thornton allowed DiPietro to get a shot on Martin Brodeur, then get a pass back from Patric Della Rossa to score into an open side 18:19 into the game.

Canada came out hitting the smaller Swiss team in the second period, but ran into penalty trouble and DiPietro got his second of the game during a two-man advantage at 8:47.

Captain Mark Streit's shot went off Robyn Regehr's skate right to DiPietro for an easy shot into an open side.

Canada thought it had goals twice in the middle period, but both were disallowed - the first because the whistle had gone with Todd Bertuzzi was in the crease.

Russian referee Viacheslav Bulanov needed about 10 minutes on the phone with the video review booth before disallowing what looked like a goal by Rick Nash. Gerber appeared to catch Nash's shot behind the goal-line.

Canada created many chances in all three periods despite an intense Swiss trap, but Gerber stood his ground.

David Aebischer of the Colorado Avalanche was in goal for the win over the Czechs.

Notes: Canada and Switzerland's last Olympic meeting was at the 1992 Games ... For a third straight game, Canada drew a non-NHL referee in Bulanov. At the last two Olympics, NHL refs were required for teams with mostly NHL players ... After two games at the main rink, Palasport Olympico, Canada moved to Torino Esposizioni, a conference centre in which a temporary rink was built.

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