Swiss qualify for medal weekend
by Andrew PODNIEKS|23 MAY 2024
Switzerland scored twice in the opening period on their way to a solid, hard-fought 3-1 win over Germany in quarter-final action today in Ostrava. The win guarantees Swiss participation in a medal game—the only question is, which one? They’ll have to wait until later tonight to find out who will be their semi-finals opponent on Saturday in Prague.

The win avenges last year’s QF match between these teams, won by the Germans, 3-1, on their way to the gold-medal game. Tonight, they are packing their bags and heading home with a 5th-8th place finish. 

"I think before the tournament there was a lot of pressure from the fans and media [to repeat last year's result], but we handled it really well," said Dominik Kahun. "The longer the tournament went on, the less we cared about it. Overall, we can say we had a good tournament, but it's unfortunate we lost today."

This was Switzerland’s first victory in the quarter-finals since 2018, when they went on to win silver.

Christoph Bertschy led the way with two goals in a game where shots were hard to come by. The final total favoured the victors by a meagre 25-15 margin.

"We didn't give them much five-on-five," said Swiss forward Nico Hischier. "We were solid in our own end, played our structure for the full 60 minutes. We were mentally strong this game and did our job. We had a game plan and we followed it. That's how our team wins games."

"I think the main thing is the first period," Kahun suggested. "We didn't play well and didn't play with confidence. I don't know why. We were on our heels, showing them too much respect. When we scored the first goal, we really got going and took the game over. I thought they got a bit nervous after that, but they played well at the end."

Switzerland opened the scoring on a routine play that became a nightmare for Germany. Playing short-handed Berstchy carried the puck slowly up ice, merely trying to kill time. But as Marc Michaelis drew near to check him, Bertschy drilled a high shot over the glove of Philipp Grubauer at 7:22.
  They extended their lead late in the period on a fortuitous bounce which saw the puck come to Nico Hischier to the back side of the play. From a bit of an angle, Hischier snapped a shot into the open side at 16:28, giving the Swiss just the start they needed.

The Swiss were rolling along nicely in the second, content with their two-goal lead and preventing Germany from doing much about it. But a hit in centre ice changed things. Andrea Glauser took a tripping penalty (after video review, which ruled a major was not required) and four seconds after the faceoff, it was 2-1. 

Wojciech Stachowiak won the draw cleanly back to Dominik Kahun, and he moved in and whistled a shot under Leonardo Genoni’s glove at 11:33. It was the ninth power-play goal surrendered by the Swiss, their most glaring weakness on a team that has been playing so well. However, they incurred another penalty soon after and killed it off efficiently.

The Germans tried valiantly to tie the game, but with Grubauer on the bench for an extra attacker, Bartschy hit the empty net to seal the win.
Switzerland vs Germany (QF) - 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship