Canada needed a little overtime magic today to remain perfect in Slovakia.
Alex Pietrangelo's goal 4:14 into OT lifted the Canadians past feisty Switzerland 4-3 at the Steel Arena in Kosice earlier today, allowing the red maple leaf to finish on top of Group B with three wins in as many games.
The Swiss didn't make it easy on Canada, forcing the extra period when Andres Ambuhl scored with just 1:12 in regulation time. That goal came less than two minutes after Chris Stewart of the St. Louis Blues had seemingly given the Canadians the win. Instead, it would take an overtime marker by Blues defenceman Pietrangelo to get that result.
"It's exactly what we expected," Ottawa Senators centre Jason Spezza
told TSN when asked about the tough test they received from the Swiss. "They're a team that's been playing really good and that excels on the big ice and plays well as a unit. So we expected a game like this.
"A little bit of adversity is good for a hockey club. We gave up a late goal but came back to win it in overtime. It's nice to get the win, move forward and try to continue to build as a team."
Canada was coming off a 9-1 rout of France on Sunday, but Spezza said having to work hard to prevail against the Swiss could pay dividends later in the tournament.
"You don't want to roll through the early games, then get into a tough game (later on) and you're not ready for it," he said. "So a game like this is welcomed. It's a challenge for us and we have to continue to get better. But I thought it showed our depth and how we are as a team. We're not going to give up and even if we get scored on late, we're going to keep going."
John Tavares of the New York Islanders and Jordan Eberle of the Edmonton Oilers scored for Canada in the second period, wiping out an early deficit created by Rafael Diaz of the Switzerland. Felicien du Bois also found the back of the net for the Swiss in the third period.
Also today, Kevin Hecqefeuille's overtime goal allowed France to edge Belarus 2-1 in Kosice for its first tournament win. Senators prospect Stephane da Costa drew an assist on the game-winner.