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Only two teams remain undefeated in Group A at the 2022 IIHF World
Championship, and they’ll go head-to-head on Saturday with first place on
the line when
Canada’s National Men’s Team
faces off against Switzerland.
Canada did not have the start it wanted against Kazakhstan, falling behind
1-0 less than three minutes in, but the Canadians stuck to it and pulled
6-3 win to improve to 4-0
. Dylan Cozens – on his way to a hat trick – responded just over a minute
after the opening goal, and Drake Batherson and Adam Lowry put Canada ahead
before the end of the first period. The game calmed significantly in the
second and third periods and Canada remained in control, thanks in part to
great play from netminder Logan Thompson, who made 16 saves in the win.
Switzerland has played in some tight games this week, but its
5-3 victory over Slovakia
was the toughest. Denis Malgin added an goal and an assist to his
tournament totals and Pius Suter had three helpers for the Swiss, who
couldn’t seem to put distance between themselves and pesky Slovaks, despite
a 30-16 advantage in shots on goal.
Canada and Switzerland last played at worlds in 2019, a
thrilling 3-2 overtime win for the Canadians
in the quarterfinals. Damon Severson, who is back for Canada this year,
tied the game with less than a second to play and Mark Stone buried the
winner 5:07 into the extra frame. Matt Murray made 22 saves for Canada,
while Swiss goaltender Leonardo Genoni (who is backstopping Switzerland
again this year) made 39 stops.
WHAT TO WATCH
Canada has had a few slow starts and likely can’t take that risk against
the Swiss. But with the depth scoring Canada has displayed, it will have
lots of chances to get out to an early lead. Cozens’ hat trick was a signal
the Canadians can be dangerous at any time, but the real bonus was two of
those three goals coming on the power play. If Canada is really starting to
connect with the man advantage, opposition teams should be careful to stay
out of the box.
Switzerland has easily been one of the best teams in Group A. It has a
plus-12 goals differential and has yet to trail in any of its four games.
It also boasts the tournament scoring leader in Malgin (4-4—8), but there
hasn’t been a lot of balanced scoring, with four players accounting for
more than half the Swiss goals. Defensive consistency in the third period
has also been an issue, as the Swiss have given up five of seven goals in
the final frame.
A LOOK BACK
Canada and Switzerland have met more than 30 times at worlds, and though
the games often end in Canada’s favour, they are often only won by a single
In the last six meetings, Canada and Switzerland have finished with a 3-2
score five times. The lone deviation from that was a
7-2 win for Canada
in 2015. Tyler Seguin and Nathan MacKinnon had Canada up 2-1 after the
first period before Aaron Ekbald, Jordan Eberle and Cody Eakin put the game
away for good in the second.
All-time record: Canada leads 26-4-2 (W-L-T)
Canada goals: 167
Switzerland goals: 51