The final preliminary round matchup in Group C will determine 2nd place. This is a matchup between a very stingy defense against some powerful scorers.
SWITZERLAND vs CZECH REPUBLIC
Saturday Feb 15th, 12:00 noon EST
Here is how the teams match up:
GOALTENDING: Jonas Hiller was perfect in the opener against Latvia, and Reto Berra followed that up with a good performance against Sweden, stopping all but 1 shot. The Czech net has been a confusing place, with the coach resting Ondrej Pavelec for the first game before finally playing him against Latvia. Pavelec will no doubt get the nod against the Swiss.
DEFENSE: This is a fairly even matchup. Roman Josi and Mark Streit have been great for the Swiss as they have allowed only 1 goal thus far in the tournament. The older and more experienced Czech blueliners are a group that might be past their real prime. Marek Zidlicky has goals in each of the first two games.
FORWARDS: Switzerland’s biggest problem is scoring goals. With just 1 goal in 2 games, they are offensively challenged and they will struggle if they fall behind. Jaromir Jagr has been great and set the pace for the Czechs as they have not had much problem finding the back of the net with 6 goals in 2 games.
EDGE: CZECH REPUBLIC
This could be a game where the first goal wins. Switzerland doesn’t give up much, and the Czechs have had some problem stopping opponents. It is the dichotomy that makes international hockey so interesting to watch whether your country is playing or not.
PREDICTION: In what might still be considered an upset, the Swiss will have enough to shut down the Czechs. Switzerland 2-1.