Switzerland 4 – United States 3 (OT)
::: It all came down to this game. Numerous teams futures at the World Championships were hinging on the outcome of this game.
Whether it was setting up matchups and seedings in the quarterfinals or just making it to the next round, this game was important. The United States wanted to win in order to be second in the group and play the Czech Republic. Sweden was hoping a US loss so they could be second. Latvia was hoping for a Switzerland loss or win in extra session, just to make the next round. And the Swiss were hoping to make the next round with a regulation win.
Despite constant pressure by the Swiss, especially towards the end, they could not pull out the regulation win, instead scoring 13 seconds into overtime in a 4-3 victory over the United States.
The loss dropped the United States into third place in Group E and they will take on Finland in the quartefinals. The Czech Republic will take on Sweden while Latvia who is thanking their lucky stars because Switzerland couldn’t net three points against the US, will take on Canada as the fourth seed in Group E.
Switzerland would take a 1-0 lead thanks to sloppy play by the Americans midway through the first. Saint Louis’ David Backes was issued a game-misconduct for hitting Stenger into the boards 7:15 into the contest. Then 32 seconds later, Los Angeles’ Dustin Brown was sent to the box for roughing.
The Swiss took advantage as A Ambuhl scored at the 9:42 mark. But despite the five-minute major from Backes, that’s all Switzerland could muster against Robert Esche and the American defense.
The second period belonged to the United States, as they dominated play in the middle 20. Atlanta’s Ron Hainsey found the back of the net 5:57 in on a US power play. After Switzerland regained the lead on a goal from R Lemm 11:03 in, the Americans scored the next two goals to take a 3-2 lead into the third. Keith Ballard picked up his second assist and third point of the tournament when he set up Montreal’s Christopher Higgins with 4:52 left and Hainsey dropped his second of the night (power play goal) with just 12 seconds remaining.
Down a goal and needing the win, the Swiss came out strong against the Americans. They finally got the equalizer when M Pluss beat Esche 9:42 in. They were halfway to their desired results. But they could never get that goal to put them ahead, even pulling Martin Gerber (Toronto) for the extra attacker.
Despite not getting the goal to move on, the Swiss did get the win, ending on a high note as R Wick beat Esche just 13 seconds into the overtime session.
Ballard finished with 14:42 of ice time and the assist.