Switzerland came out of the first game of the tournament as victors over Kazakhstan. The final score was five to three and the amount of shots on goal reflect the score with Switzerland’s 34 shots versus Kazakhstan’s 19. I would love to say that this was a clean win for the Swiss, but mistakes were made on both teams, including Switzerland’s only goal of the second period from a weird roll of the puck and got caught up between the Kazakhstan goalie’s skates. However, it seems that the Swiss could learn from this game and see what they will need to work on as they prepare to take on Sweden on December 28th.
The Swiss gained an upper hand early in the game going up 2-1 going into the second period, with the first goal coming in at only 2 minutes into the game. The first period showed the offensive of the puck for the Swiss and helped the team establish a lead going into the second period. However, the second period showed very little of the Switzerland team, as they allowed to goals and only scored one due to a unlucky situation for the Kazakhstan goalie. The second period showed the Swiss team’s jitters and it showed that this team needs to eliminate the tiny mistakes in order to progress in the tournament at hopes at podium spot. With mistakes on both sides of the puck for the Swiss and going into the third period all tied at 3 a piece, Switzerland was going to need to show some prowess in order to retake the lead and close the game with a win. It seemed that a switch was turned on for the Swiss in the third period as they went on to score two goals and see Luca Hollenstein pitch a shutout to gain the first win in the tournament. The Swiss showed dominance in the third period on both sides of the puck and closed out the game with 17 faceoff wins and putting in two goals to win the game five to three.
The big stars of the game seemed to be Matthew Verboon, as he contributed two goals for the Swiss, along with Hollenstein saving 16-19 shots on goal and posting a save percentage of 84.2%. The Swiss looked eager to play and it showed in the first and third period, posting a score of 4 to 1. However, allowing two goals and almost not scoring a lucky situation goal with only nine minutes to go in the second period, they can definitely find some room for improvement. As the team has a day off before their next game, the Swiss may want to look at puck control and take more advantage of the chance of a goal, as they only posted a 17% scoring percentage. However, the team took advantage on the offensive side of the ice with their five goals, including a powerplay goal during the first. The team has a few things that need to be tightened and cleaned up on their off day, so that they can go into a very important game against Team Sweden on December 28th. For them to be able to handle the Sweden team, they will need to take advantage of the powerplays and scoring opprotunities given to them, and they will need to be stout on defense as they were on offense during today’s game. As the first game of the tournament, Swiss looks like a team that can cause some problems for Sweden and even Finland if they can capitalize on the opponents mistakes and can work on as a strong unit on both sides of the puck. The second game of the round robin for the Swiss will be on December 28th at 1 pm ET/12 pm CT as they look to take an important and early group lead.