It took Canada 48 seconds to confirm Swiss coach Christian Wohlwend’s prediction of what would happen in today’s quarter-finals.
That is, Maxime Comtois fired a hard pass to Brett Howden on a two-on-two, and Howden buried the shot to give Canada a 1-0 lead.
It would be unfair to say that the game was over at that point, but the goal confirmed what Wohlwend had predicted – that Canada was bigger, faster, stronger. Better. Plain and simple.
“That was a bit of reverse psychology,” captain Dillon Dube suggested. “But that got us focused to playing our own game. It helped a bit. We came out strong. That first one helped settle us down, and then the floodgates opened.”
The dominating 8-2 win gives Canada a place in the semi-finals on Thursday and a date with the Czech Republic. The winner of that game plays for gold.
“They’re a good team, and they’re fast,” defenceman Cale Makar said of the Czechs. “We’ll turn our focus to them now. We’re excited to play them. We haven’t played our best yet. I know we can step our game up.”
“We played the Czechs before the tournament, so we know a little bit about them,” said Brett Howden, who had a goal and three assists tonight. “They’ve changed a few things, I think, but we’ll address that tomorrow on our day off and get ready for them.”
The Swiss go home now after an 8th-place finish.
“I think we had a good team here,” offered Swiss captain Nando Eggenberger. “We won the deciding game in the preliminary round and wanted to get further, but we have to realize that they were simply stronger. Now we have to start preparing for next year. Every player must become stronger, more disciplined and smarter.”
Canada outshot its opponents by a massive 60-15 count and was in control from start to finish, scoring in the opening and closing minute.
Less than eight minutes after the early first goal Canada made it 2-0 when Makar stepped in from the point and drilled a high shot over Philip Wuthrich’s glove.
Three-and-a-half minutes later, Drake Batherson controlled a loose puck near the crease on the power play and made no mistake. 3-0.
The goals continued to come in the second. Batherson got his second when he stepped on the ice to find the puck at his feet. He skated in hard on goal and put another high shot over Wuthrich’s glove.
Less than a minute later Batherson’s stick got its hat-trick goal. Jordan Kyrou was in the Swiss end when his stick broke. He went to the bench, and Batherson stuck his stick out for Kyrou to take. He did, got the puck, and scored, immediately turning to the bench for a laugh with Batherson.
That spelled the end for Wuthrich. Wohlwend gave Matteo Ritz the chance to play. There was but one small moment of relief for the Swiss in the period. Simon le Coultre’s long shot deflected off the toe of Dario Rohrbach’s skate in front of Carter Hart to make it a 6-1 game.
The Swiss made it 6-2 midway through the third on a nice short-handed effort. Axel Simic got to a puck and drove down the right side, beating Hart with a wrist shot from long range.
Later on that same power play, though, Canada added another, this on a one-timer from the slot by Dube.
Comtois finished the scoring with a second effort on a wraparound with just 50.4 seconds remaining.