Kevin Romy scored the eventual game-winner in the third period, lifting Switzerland over Belarus 3-2.
Tobias Stephan, who got the nod and gave Reto Berra the day off, made sure to keep the game in the Swiss’ hands by stopping a Mikhail Grabovski penalty shot just a few minutes after the Romy goal. Stephan made 19 saves on 21 shots, in what was a much more even game than the 5-1 win against Kazakhstan. His Belarusian counterpart, Vitali Koval, stopped 32 of 35 and faced a barrage of shots in the first period alone (19-1 in favor of Switzerland), giving his teammates the go-ahead to make a 2-1 lead a 2-2 tie in the second period on the shot of Konstantin Koltsov. Alexei Ugarov was the other scorer for Belarus.
The Swiss were a bit undisciplined in this game as well. Leading the way in PIM was Luca Sbisa (pictured) with 4, as well as the play that led to Grabovski’s penalty shot. Thankfully, Stephan was equal to the task, as was the penalty kill. The top line of Simon Moser-Romy-Damien Brunner scored all three goals, which isn’t exactly what you want from a team whose offense needs to improve on all four lines, but it at least guaranteed a win today.
Next up is Finland on Tuesday, and that will be the real test. The Finns have only outscored their opponents 2-0 in two games, but that says much more about their defensive capabilities than their lack of offense. Stay tuned.