Alex Pietrangelo scored late in overtime on Tuesday to give Canada a surprisingly hard-fought 4-3 win over Switzerland to complete the group stage of the ice hockey world championship with a perfect record.
Pietrangelo beat goalie Leonardo Genoni with a wrist shot with 46 seconds left in the extra period to give Canada their third win in three matches.
“This is obviously one of the big ones, it’s pretty special,” Pietrangelo said. “We have a lot of young guys who play the world championship for the first time. You realize how good every team is. It’s not a bad thing for us to face adversity.”
Chris Stewart looked to have scored the winner for Canada when he made it 3-2 with 3:14 remaining in the game, but Andres Ambuhl equalized with 1:22 left to force overtime.
“It’s always tough [against Switzerland],” Canada captain Rick Nash said. “It was tough at the Olympics and at the world -championship before.”
Raphael Diaz had given Switzerland the lead when he surprised goalie James Reimer with an angled shot from the left to make it 1-0 12:29 into the opening period.
However, Jordan Eberle scored his third goal of the tournament to equalize midway through the second and John Tavares made it 2-1 with 3:09 remaining. Felicien Du Bois tied the game again in the third.
“For us, this was the type of competition tonight that we need to get better in the tournament,” Canada coach Ken Hitchcock said. “This was just a great hockey game. The second period was the best period we played in the tournament.”
Switzerland stunned Canada 4-1 at last year’s worlds, just after the Vancouver Olympics where the eventual champion Canada beat Switzerland after a penalty shootout.
Reimer stopped 30 shots, while Canada outshot Switzerland 61-33.
“Canada played a hard game. They deserved to win,” Switzerland coach Sean Simpson said.
In Bratislava, Germany had to rally from a two-goal deficit to beat Slovenia 3-2 after a penalty shootout.
Felix Schutz equalized for Germany 5:32 into the final period to force overtime. In the shootout, Frank Hordler netted the winning goal.
Germany has three wins from three matches and advanced to the second round from Group A together with host Slovakia and Russia.