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Swiss to play for bronze after 6-1 loss to Canada at junior hockey championship

NHL.com @NHL

SASKATOON - Unable to pull off a second straight upset at the world junior men's hockey championship, Switzerland will instead try to match their best result in the tournament in Tuesday's bronze-medal game.

The Swiss fell 6-1 to Canada in Sunday's semifinal a day after shocking Russia 3-2 in overtime in the quarter-final.

Switzerland's best result in a world junior championship was a bronze medal when they last hosted the 1998 tournament in Geneva.

This year's squad will try and equal that Tuesday when they face the loser of Sunday's semifinal between Sweden and the U.S.

"It would be a dream come true if we did win Tuesday," goaltender Benjamin Conz said. "We're going to forget this game so we can focus on winning Tuesday and bringing a medal back to Switzerland."

Despite playing their second game in as many days, the Swiss played a better first two periods against Canada than they had in a 6-0 loss to the hosts during the round robin last week. Despite getting outshot 19-6 in the opening period, they held Canada to one power-play goal.

But the wheels began to come off their upset bid when Canada scored short-handed early in the second period for a 2-0 lead. Canada extended that to a three-goal cushion before Mauro Gorg scored a power-play goal midway through the second.

That was the only goal the Swiss would score. Their defence fell apart in the final five minutes of the game when the host country scored their fifth and sixth goals.

"It was pretty tough to play back-to-back games. Our emotions were pretty raw," Conz said. "We had a very good first period and then our intensity decreased as the game went on."

He made 26 saves over the first 40 minutes and 32 in total.

"The short-hander hurt us too much to come back, but I'm proud of my players," Swiss head coach Jakob Kolliker said. "Everybody worked hard until the end. I think that's the way to progress."

Switzerland didn't play in the world 'A' championship in Ottawa last year, but had to win the 'B' tournament at home in Herisau to gain promotion to this year's tournament.

The Swiss will finish among the top five countries for the first time since 2002 when they were fourth in the Czech Republic.

They beat Russia without top defencemen Luca Sbisa and Roman Josi, who were injured earlier in the tournament. Sbisa, a first-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Flyers, and Josi, a second-round selection of the Nashville Predators, have been named to the Swiss Olympic team.

"We did beat the Russians without them so we could have beaten the Canadians without them," said Conz. "They are excellent players and we would have been better off with them with us, but we still pulled together and did the best we could."

The Swiss had the Canadian fans behind them in their quarter-final against Russia, but they were not feeling any affection Sunday from the 13,427 at Credit Union Centre. Conz hopes Switzerland can regain their allegiance.

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