Austria stuns Switzerland, 4-3
Austria stuns Switzerland, 4-3
Komarek shootout hero in victory
Austria had tied the game in the final minute of regulation, coming back for the third time in the game.
"We worked hard," said Austrian Brian Lebler. "We checked and skated with them the whole game. Starky [goalie Bernhard Starkbaum] stood on his head. It’s just exciting to start the tournament this way, that’s for sure."
The Swiss now get ready for France tomorrow evening while Austria plays Sweden earlier in the day.
"We were just calm," Komarek noted. "We knew that if we played well defensively, we’d get the chances offensively. We played a good game offensively. In the end, we could score with a pulled goalie. It was really nice for us to go into overtime and then in the shootout, everything can happen. Fortunately, it ended in our favour."
Austria was lucky to escape the first period trailing by only a single goal. The Swiss had much the better puck possession and shot out the Austrians, 12-6. The only goal of the opening period came just 1:14 into the game off an odd-man rush.
Kevin Fiala took the puck down the right side and dropped a pass for Felicien du Bois. His hard shot squeezed through the pads of Starkbaum.
Just a short time later, the Swiss were awarded a penalty shot when Kevin Romy was hooked, but he snapped his freebie right into the pads of the goalie.
In addition, the Austrians incurred the only three minors of the period, including a double minor for high sticking to Lebler. The Swiss, however, moved the puck around well but created few good scoring chances.Continue reading
There was good news and bad news for the Austrians in the second period. To the good, they tied the score. To the bad, they had only one other shot the entire period. In the first instance, captain Thomas Raffl got a loose puck by the side of the goal and flicked it off the blocker of Reto Berra from a bad angle to make it 1-1 at 2:12.
But the Swiss went back on the attack and tied the game while short-handed. Roman Josi and Andres Ambuhl took advantage of a turnover at their blue line, and they made a nice series of passes, Ambuhl smacking the puck in the empty side at 5:54 to restore the lead.
The Swiss dominated the rest of the period as Austria showed little ability to control the puck or mount sustained pressure in the Swiss end.
Martin Schumnig had a great chance to tie the game for Austria early in the third, but he was stoned from in close by Berra. Moments later, at 3:33, Lebler did tie the game, redirecting a great Raphael Herburger pass while driving to the net.
But again, the Austrians couldn't build on that goal or hold the Swiss at bay. Cody Almond made a great stretch pass to Matthias Bieber in full flight, and Bieber beat Starkbaum to the far side at 11:01. It was from far enough out that the goalie should have made the stop, but it put the Swiss in control again.
With less than a minute to go, and Starkbaum on the bench for a sixth attacker, the Austrians tied the game for a third time. Thomas Raffl turned and fired a quick shot at the goal, and brother Michael made a superb deflection with exactly 50 seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime.
"We’ve got a mix of young guys and old guys," Lebler said. "We’re all best friends. We just want to work hard and have fun. That’s a recipe for a team that’s going to keep coming and coming. We had nothing to lose. So we’re here to play."
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