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Swiss take second in Group C with 1-0 victory over Czechs

Saturday, 02.15.2014 / 2:27 PM / News
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Swiss take second in Group C with 1-0 victory over Czechs
Swiss take second in Group C with 1-0 victory over Czechs

SOCHI -- The next goal Jonas Hiller gives up in the 2014 Sochi Olympics will be his first.

Switzerland continued its impressive display of defense and goaltending Saturday, knocking off the Czech Republic 1-0 and wrapping up second place in Group C. Hiller, the starting goalie for the Anaheim Ducks, made 26 saves for his second shutout in as many starts.

The Swiss have played nine periods in this tournament and allowed just one goal. They've also only scored two, but that's been enough for six points.

For the first time in three contests, a game involving Switzerland had a goal before the third period. Simon Bodenmann snapped a one-timer from Denis Hollenstein past Winnipeg Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec at 14:10 of the opening period. Kevin Romy was pinned against the boards behind the Czech net, but was able to wriggle free enough to get the puck to Hollenstein.

It was only the second goal of the tournament for Switzerland, and the first that didn't take a weird bounce off an opponent to beat the goaltender.

Switzerland's ability to prevent goals continued to be a developing them in this tournament. The Swiss shut out Latvia in their first game, and yielded one third-period goal Friday night in a 1-0 loss to Sweden.

It hasn't mattered who is in net. Both Hiller and Calgary Flames netminder Reto Berra have played well, and the team's defensive structure has helped frustrate opponents. The only goal allowed in the first two games was actually a bad one to yield, and the Swiss were a soft rebound from Berra away from potentially forcing overtime and earning at least a point against the Swedes.

Meanwhile, this tournament has not gone as planned for the Czech Republic. A slow start crippled their chances against Sweden in a 4-2 loss in the opener, and Latvia kept the game closer than expected in a 4-2 victory. With this loss, the Czechs are likely going to be seeded seventh or eighth for the classification round, which takes place Monday.

One of the team's key players, New Jersey Devils forward Patrik Elias, did not play because of illness, but the Czechs still possessed plenty of dynamic offensive talent. They just couldn't solve Hiller.

For the Swiss, finishing second in this group is another major accomplishment for the burgeoning hockey nation. Sweden forward Daniel Sedin said he thinks other teams "need to watch out" for the Swiss and expects them to be a factor in the later portion of this tournament.

Switzerland is unlikely to be seeded higher than sixth, unless Russia or the United States are upset by Slovakia or Slovenia, respectively, Sunday. The Swiss have showcased their defensive credentials, and they are the textbook definition of a "tough out" as the elimination rounds beckon.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 82 24 43 16 67
P. Elias 65 18 35 -4 53
T. Zajac 80 18 30 3 48
A. Henrique 77 25 18 3 43
M. Zidlicky 81 12 30 -3 42
M. Ryder 82 18 16 -6 34
A. Greene 82 8 24 3 32
E. Gelinas 60 7 22 -3 29
D. Zubrus 82 13 13 1 26
R. Clowe 43 7 19 -10 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 16 15 12 .921 1.97
M. Brodeur 19 14 6 .901 2.51

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