In the first 'real game' of the tournament, Canada faced Switzerland in the quarter finals. Â As per usual there was a rather large contingency of Canadian fans present, and the Swedish broadcast took note, producing a small special regarding Canadians and their veritable obsession with hockey.
The match up started up in a predictable fashion, with Canada carrying the pace, relying on intensity a strong forecheck to create turnovers. This left the Swiss guard uneasy, as they struggled to complete a pass in the opening minutes of the period.
As the game settled down, both the Swiss and the Canadians created chances, with the best ones coming from the boys in white and blue.
A tripping penalty by Baltisberger, drawn by Scott Laughton, led to several good scoring chances for Team Canada, but the Swiss goalie Melvin Nyffeler, stood tall.
Canada took over the period from there on end, peppering Nyffeler with endless shots, however the Swiss netminder was once again equal to the task.
A late penalty to Josh Morrissey put Switzerland on the powerplay, in what would be potentially the first true test of the game for Habs prospect Zachary Fucale. However Canada's penalty kill was exemplary, and never really let the Swiss set up in their zone.
Fucale did however make a nice save towards the end of the period, stopping a warp-around attempt without much fanfare.
A scramble in front of the Swiss net with a little under two minutes remaining led to the opening goal of the game.
Scott Laughton made a nice move to get the puck to the front of the nice, and Griffin Reinhart was in the right place at right time to bury the rebound, while Bo Horvat worked furiously in the crease to create havoc.
The opening goal by Reinhart came with 1:58 left in the first, and was unassisted.
With a minute and twenty seconds remaining in the opening frame, Matt Dumba was sent to the box for holding. Fucale resisted several strong Swiss attempts on net, and the first period ended 1-0 in favour of Canada, as they held a 6-4 advantage in shots.
Despite carrying the play, the Swiss played a smart defensive strategy, keeping Canada to the outside and clogging the shooting lanes.
The Swiss started the second frame on shortened powerplay, but failed to set up in Canada's zone. Â It's clear at this point that Canada is stronger and faster than Switzerland, but the game remained close, despite a lack of sustained pressure by Switzerland.
The first real high scoring chance of the period came about 5 minutes into the game. A seemingly innocent point shot by the Swiss was fumbled by Fucale, due to a screen set up by his own defenseman Derrek Pouliot. Fortunately for Canada Fucale managed to recover.
Shortly thereafter some strong work behind the net by Bo Horvat led to a scoring chance, as the Reinhart-Horvat-Laughton line established themselves as the best trio of the game for Canada.
Jonathan Drouin, as per usual, single handedly created several scoring chances by using his superior hands and vision to cut to the inside on the overwhelmed Swiss defense.
The Swiss responded quickly, with another wrap around attempt, but once again Fucale remained calm and stuffed the attack. The decision to go with Fucale is proving to be the right one, as his poise is apparent. Although not peppered with a lot of shots, the Halifax goalie provided the confidence and timely saves that Canada desperately needed.
Team Canada lowered their intensity about 5 minutes into the second period, seemingly happy to sit on a one goal lead against an underrated Swiss squad.
Sam Reinhart tried to bring his team back to life by streaking in alone off a nice rush by Derrick Pouliot.
Melvin Nyffeler would have none of it.
However shortly thereafter Anthony Mantha was taken down on a breakaway, and was awarded a penalty shot.
Mantha made no mistake, as he dangled the Swiss goalie with no remorse. Canada went up 2-0.
gif viaÂ The Score
Matt Dumba was dumped a few minutes later and crashed hard into the boards. Canada would go to the powerplay looking for a three goal lead, but failed to convert. Dumba would later leave the game.
Thankfully Dumba would later return to the game, sporting a nasty cut on his face.
With one second left in the second period, Switzerland seemingly reduced the lead by one goal on a point shot that was tipped with a possible high stick and fooled Fucale. It was deemed as a good goal by the referee, although it went to video review for several minutes since the replays showed it was an incredibly close call.
The goal ended up being deemed as legal, and the plucky Swiss squad gained a lot of momentum with the last second marker.
The shots in the period were 12-7 for Canada.
Canada started the third on a mission, and missed several good scoring chances via the Reinhart-Horvat-Laughton line.
The Canadians continued to pour on the pressure, which led to a powerplay due to a slashing penalty by Dunner. The powerplay was quickly negated by Derrick Pouliot, who was forced to take a penalty due to losing a puck battle deep in the Canadian zone.
On the ensuing 4 on 4, Griffin Reinhart streaked in alone but was stopped by Nyffeler. Lazar followed up the play and wrapped the goal across the goal line for a 3-1 Canada lead.
Switzerland would attempt to cut the lead to one thanks to a Matt Dumba penalty, but Zachary Fucale made a few nice saves to preserve the two goal lead.
Once again Canada seemed content to sit on their lead, but thankfully the discrepancy in talent between both clubs meant that they could afford to lay off the gas a little, even if it's a terrible strategy.
Another Canadian penalty, courtesy of Scott Laughton led to some sustained pressure by the Swiss, however they failed to convert on what was a 'must score' powerplay.
Following the powerplay, top pairing d-man Derrick Pouliot intercepted a Swiss pass, made a clean zone entry and beat Nyffeler over his blocker. By doing so he put the proverbial 'nail in the Swiss coffin'
It's worth noting that Jonathan Drouin didn't see much ice time in the later stages of the game, as coach Sutter is seemingly keeping him on a short leash. This of course meant reduced ice time for both Anthony Mantha and Habs prospect Charles Hudon.
The shots finished 23-20 in favour of Canada. The Canadians never trailed, but until the fourth goal the game was definitely a hard fought battle.
Canada is 20-0 versus Switzerland at the WJC, but the score in this game was not indicative of how close the game was at times.
Canada will face Artturi Lehkonen and Team Finland in the semi-finals on Saturday.