PARIS, France – Ryan O’Reilly (Varna, Ont./Buffalo, NHL) and Mitch Marner (Thornhill, Ont./Toronto, NHL) staked Canada to an early two-goal lead, but Canada’s National Men’s Team couldn’t find any more offence in a 3-2 overtime loss to Switzerland at the 2017 IIHF World Championship.
Fabrice Herzog scored 3:40 into the five-minute extra period to hand Canada its first loss of the tournament.
The Canadians remain on top of Group B, two points ahead of the Swiss, with a 4-0-1-0 record. Canada leads the all-time head-to-head matchup 25-3-2; however, the teams have now split their last six meetings.
Canada came out unfazed by the vocal pro-Swiss crowd inside AccorHotels Arena.
Marner drew a penalty less than four minutes in. After he cleanly checked Denis Hollenstein into the side boards, the Swiss forward’s retaliation drew an interference call.
O’Reilly had a couple of cracks down low at the puck, sliding the game’s opening goal past Jonas Hiller.
Marner and Colton Parayko (St. Albert, Alta./St. Louis, NHL) drew assists on the goal; it was Parayko’s first international point for Canada.
Just over two minutes later, Marner spun and saw his backhand go off a Swiss defender and in. After only 6:28, Hiller’s night in net ended and Leonardo Genoni’s began.
Canada outshot Switzerland 15-1 over the first 12 minutes, and the team finished with a 16-6 shot advantage by the end of the end of the opening period.
However, the team had no answer for Genoni. Canada fired 35 shots on the netminder but couldn’t beat him. Its best chance came midway through the second. Alex Killorn (Beaconsfield, Que./Tampa Bay, NHL) sent a cross-crease pass to a seemingly open Wayne Simmonds (Scarborough, Ont./Philadelphia, NHL), but Christian Marti got enough of the puck to redirect it off the post.
The Swiss began their comeback on the power play early in the third. Having given his stick to a defenceman, Simmonds was unable to clear the puck along the side boards. Moments later, Herzog flipped in a backhand from in close.
And 3:07 later, Calvin Pickard (Winnipeg, Man./Colorado, NHL) deflected a centering pass Vincent Praplan intended for Hollenstein into his own net.
Pickard finished with 23 saves.
Canada’s next game is Monday against Norway (10:15 a.m. ET/7:15 a.m. PT).
“They [Switzerland] pushed all the way, didn’t stop, and kept playing hockey. I think especially our line [Marner-Point-Konecny], we have to be more of a speed factor and have an impact. In the second and third our legs weren’t moving, we were slow off the start, and we all know we need to be better. We’ve got to make sure next game we come out, [play] a full 60, and we’re ready to play.”
– Mitch Marner on facing a relentless Swiss team
“This team has been thrown together and we have to go through different situations. This is one we’re going through that I’m glad we’re going through at this stage of the tournament and not in an elimination game.”
– Jon Cooper, Team Canada head coach, on facing adversity
Since 1931, Canada has won the world championship 20 times – not counting the years when Olympic Winter Games champions were also considered world champion. The country has also collected 11 silver medals and six bronze in that timespan.