Canada eased their way into the elimination rounds, tripping up only once against the Americans in a hotly contested outdoor game in round robin play. The Swiss, however, were not as fortunate, as they won just once in the opening rounds: a 3-2 thriller over relegation-round participant Belarus. Despite troubling Russia slightly, the Swiss weren’t able to threaten much heading into their elimination game with Canada.
The Canadians entered the game without Montreal Canadiens defenceman Victor Mete, who was nursing a slight injury from the outdoor game against the United States.
It took just 48 seconds for Canada to get on the board against an overmatched Swiss side. Maxime Comtois and Brett Howden broke in on net and Comtois fed a a perfect feed to Howden, who slotted it past Philip Wüthrich for the opening goal.
Makar to Comtois to Howden and Canada has a lead 48 seconds into the game pic.twitter.com/j7xkEzNRuc— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) January 2, 2018
Even a brilliant toe save by Wüthrich couldn’t help spur the Swiss forward, as any rebounds off of Carter Hart were immediately swallowed up by Canadian defenders and cleared.
In something that was only a matter of time, Cale Makar let a shot fly from the top of the faceoff circle, and doubled the Canadian advantage.
Third straight game with a goal for Cale Makar pic.twitter.com/tLcmEAPxiN— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) January 2, 2018
The Canadian pressure wouldn’t relent, as Nicolas Müller was forced into a hooking penalty, sending the Canadians to the power play. It took longer than expected, but Drake Batherson cashed in on the goalmouth scramble, and put his side up 3-0 with several minutes left to play in the first.
Even sitting back a bit with the multi-goal lead, the Canadians dominated the Swiss side on the shot clock 18-5, with the Swiss’ best scoring chance coming off an official’s skate near the goal crease.
The second period restarted the Canadian shooting gallery, with every line Ducharme threw on the ice spending significant time in the Swiss zone while their opponents chased them around. When Switzerland was able to get beyond the Canadian blue line, their shots were quickly dispatched by a stalwart Canadian defence.
Just past the four-minute mark, Drake Batherson found the back of the net once again, streaking in off the wing and rifling a shot past the overwhelmed Swiss goalie.
Shortly thereafter, the dynamic Jordan Kyrou made it a 5-0 game on a shot that was partially stopped by a Swiss player. Despite the defensive effort, the puck fluttered in over Wüthrich. It brought the end to the netminder’s night in net, as he was replaced by Matteo Ritz.
The goalie swap worked, albeit for a brief period, as Switzerland snapped the shutout bid from Carter Hart with a tip-in goal by Dario Rohrbach, with assists going to Guillaume Maillard and Simon le Coultre.
That was followed up with the rtailers being hemmed in their own end, and taking a penalty to put a fearsome Canadian man advantage back on the ice. The Swiss however held their own, forcing Team Canada to defend several short-handed chances, and leading Kale Clague to interfere on a potential breakaway.
The ensuing four-on-four situation led to another Canadian goal, this time with Conor Timmins streaking in from the point, and snapping a shot past Ritz.
A Taylor Raddysh penalty sent the Swiss back to the man advantage as they looked to keep the score somewhat respectable. They weren’t able to score on their initial power play, but the Swiss forced Canada into taking another penalty, giving them some late momentum to carry into the following period.
As it had been all game, Canada snuffed out Swiss attacks before they could start, forcing their opponents to the outside and into bad shooting lanes. Under heavy duress from the Canadian forecheck, a Swiss player slung the puck into the stands, sending Canada back to the power less than six minutes into the final period.
To add a bit of something for the Swiss fans to cheer about, Axel Simic fled the zone with the puck in tow, streaking in on net, and lasered a shot right past Carter Hart for the second Swiss goal of the evening.
Not content to let the Swiss aggression go unpunished, Canada marched right down the ice once more, and Dillon Dube rifled a shot home from the slot to restore the five-goal advantage. The two goals came just 46 seconds apart, showcasing Canada’s ability to put the puck in the net seemingly at will against their over-matched opponents.
With time winding down, Comtois and Formenton got set up deep in the zone, with the former attempting a wraparound before getting ahold of the puck and lifting it into the top of the net to cap off an 8-2 win in the second quarter-final of the day.
Canada will now square off against the potential spoiler pick of the tournament, the Czech Republic, in their next game. The Czechs stunned the Finns earlier in the day on the back of a mammoth goaltending performance from Josef Korenar. While they’re the likely favourites on paper, the Canadian side cannot take the Czechs lightly in their semifinal matchup.