Canada and Switzerland face each other on May 23rd for the 2019 Worlds quarterfinal. The first puck drop will be at 16:15 in Kosice.
No one can afford missteps anymore. From now on, all the games are “do or die”. The most exciting part of the tournament is about to start!
Our guys have been showing good things altarnated with some less convincing ones. Overall though, we can look forward to the quarterfinal with optimism. Even if only because so far the Swiss have been selling their lives dearly and have been proving capable of defeating anyone.
Provided that they can deliver the almost perfect performance. “Almost perfect”, because obviously there is no such thing as the “perfect performance”. As we always say, ice hockey is a sport made of mistakes… whoever makes less of them, wins the games. This is even more valid for the Swiss, who oftentimes are punished for each single distracion.
But what are the keys to win against a “big gun” like Canada? Let’s try to find out few…
Switzerland must try, as far as possible, to be at the top of its game from start to finish. Lack of focus is forbidden. The Swiss proved to be in a good physical condition though… other than the impression we had, also these charts prove it.
Switzerland in fact, tends to score most of the goals during the third periods of play. And at the same time, the Swiss shot more as the games go on.
As regards to goals conceded, however, it’s worrying that peak of goals conceded during the early stages of the central periods. This problem, should be related to some lack of concentration after the first break.
It’s likely that Leonardo Genoni will play… but whoever will play between Leonardo, Reto Berra and Robert Mayer, will play a key role. The goalie always plays a key role in a hockey team. This is even more true during “do or die” games… and this is even more true when a team like Switzerland has to face a “big gun” like Canada.
In this reagard, however, we’re not worried. All the three goalies – including Robert Mayer – proved to be in a good form.
We’re not among those saying that the Swiss’ power-play is catastrophic in every way. The players can create chances, after all. It’s also true, however, that the darn puck doesn’t go in the back of the net during power-play situations… and this is something that must improve. Oftentimes, power-play opportunities are crucial during a “do or die” game.
Switzerland must find the perfect mix between “physical play” and “discipline”. Physical play is essential when playoffs start… but discipline is just as important. Way too often, we’ve noticed that during some phases of the games the Swiss are not disciplined enough and gift the opponents with unnecessary power-play opportunities. That’s something to avoid against a great team like Canada.
It’s likely that Canada will put us under huge pressure right from the first puck drop. And we must be ready to do the same. Starting from the first puck drop, the Swiss must bring in a lot of intensity to make clear that they face Canada head-on.
This is the last key factor we want to talk about. Nowadays in professional sport, it’s crucial to be mentally ready. Oftentimes, the details make the difference… and a good mental toughness can help to make the details turn in your favour. In this regard, however, we’re not worried. Patrick Fischer’s guys look mentally ready to face Canada and to earn a first win against a “big gun” in Slovakia!
What are, instead, the key factors that we can’t control? There is one in particular. One that many prople forget sometime…
Talk is cheap. The truth is, however, that there is always an opponent to face. An opponent who has the same target as Switzerland. That is, to win and make it to the next round. Let’s face it guys, if Canada delivers the almost perfect performance, it’s gonna be difficult – regardless of everything – for our guys to prevail. Because Canada are so darn strong and one of the best teams – if not the best – in the world.
Oftentimes, we tend to say what our team did right and wrong. Almost no one though, take into consideration the fact that the opponents are strong. Let’s take the game played against Russia for example… in our opinion, Patrick Fischer’s guys delivered a decent performance. But Russia was simply too strong. We mean, if Canada performs like… Canada, life will be hard and an exploit will be needed to make it to the semifinals. The only thing Switzerland can do is to prevent Canada from being… well, Canada.
HEAD TO HEAD STATS
Let’s have a look at a couple of head to head stats between Canada and Switzerland.
GOALS FOR & GOALS AGAINST
Canada scored 36 goals and has the third best attacking record of the tournament tied with Russia and behind Sweden (41) and Czech Republic (39). We mean, the Canadians do not struggle to put the puck in the net. Moreover, they defend themselves very well… as it is evidenced by the fact that they conceded only 11 goals and have the second best defensive record of the tournament.
Switzerland instead struggles a little bit more to score but still has the sixth best attacking record. However, above all, the Swiss are rock solid in defense and conceded only 14 goals. It means that they have the fourth best defensive record of the tournament tied with Czech Republic. Only Canada, Finland and Russia conceded less goals.
SCORING & SAVING PERCENTAGE
Canada has an excellent scoring percentage (the fourth best of the tournament). Switzerland instead struggles little bit more to put the pucks in the net… and has only the 9th best scoring percentage of the tournament.
When it comes to saving percentage instead, both teams are excellent.
POWER-PLAY & PENALTY-KILLING
Both Canada and Switzerland are good penalty-killers. As regards to the power-play efficiency instead, there are huge differences…
The Canadians have an impressive 52.6% efficiency during power-play opportunities and are the best team of the tournament. The Swiss instead, darn struggle as it is evidenced by the 11.4% efficiency which is only the 13th one of the tournament…
Both teams should be more careful. Among the teams who made it to the quarterfinals, only Czech Republic (90 minutes) was assessed more penalties than Switzerland and Canada.
Here we are guys… go out there and enjoy!
Switzerland lost the last three games against the “big guns”… but only against Russia there was no deal to make. Against Sweden and Czech Republic in fact, the Swiss could have won the games one way or another.
The truth is though, that we can’t afford basically any mistake because we’re immediately punished. And we have to be at the 100% all the time. These two are big problems… because it’s humanly impossible (or almost…) to deliver a flawless performance and to be at the 100% during each single shift.
However, our guys proved capable of being an extremely tough nut to crack for anyone. Therefore, we’re optimist.
Come on guys, do your best! And it will be what it will be… at this point, anything can happen. A win would be a dream and it would mean to write history again. A defeat, however, should not question the terrific job that Switzerland has been doing over the years this century.
From our side, we can only support… and then,