Ice hockey: For John Tavares, Swiss fans boosted Canada

Ice hockey: For John Tavares, Swiss fans boosted Canada
Ice hockey: For John Tavares, Swiss fans boosted Canada

“The Canadians smelled the taste of blood and turned the match around,” said the coach of the Swiss team, Patrick Fischer. Fists, elbows and canes flew when Kevin Fiala collided head-on with Canadian forward Dylan Cozens in the neutral zone: a “knee to knee” shock which ignited the powder and “woke up” the Canadian selection, who until then had been defeated with each Swiss charge by the thousands of Swiss fans in the stands.

As in the NHL, all the players on the ice at the time of Fiala’s contentious (and dangerous) action came to blows. “The expulsion was severe,” said Patrick Fischer. I have no reproach to make to Kevin Fiala or to the referees for that matter, who only applied the rules. But in my eyes, it was a good check.” An opinion that the Canadian players did not share on Sunday. Good news however, Fiala will not be suspended.

The Saint-Welsh striker of the Los Angeles Kings ended his evening in the locker room (match penalty), Canada took advantage of the five minutes of penalty to score two goals in 113 seconds while Switzerland led until then 2-1 thanks to with goals from Fiala and Romain Loeffel. “We have to give credit to the Swiss fans, who created a great atmosphere in this stadium,” explained the captain of Canada and the Toronto Maple Leafs, John Tavares (33). The atmosphere was electric and hostile, but we ultimately used it to turn the match around. It also gave us energy. It was an intense game, against a tough Swiss opponent.”

The Swiss team delivered a big match but the penalties cost them a victory that was nevertheless within reach: Canada scored its three goals with a numerical advantage. This first defeat of the tournament means that Switzerland will move to Ostrava for their quarter-final on Thursday against an opponent to be determined. Before that, one last match without stakes for Switzerland remains on Tuesday against a Finnish team condemned to win to get a glimpse of the quarter-finals (8:20 p.m.). “We are going to play hard and want to win this match,” assures Patrick Fischer. A Swiss victory would delight the surprise Austrian team, currently 4th in the group.

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