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Live: Slovakia/Switzerland

Third Period:

14:30: GOAL, Slovakia. That'll wake everybody. After a sloppy start to the period, Slovakia's Andrej Stasny scores to cut the Swiss lead to 4-3. Stasny slams his stick on the ice in celebration.

12:00: Swiss getting very sloppy. From afar, Switzerland has the better team. Faster, better goaltending, etc. But its defensemen are getting very careless with the puck. Slovaks could easily steal this one.

9:50: Niederreiter loiters into the slot untouched and gets a little too cute. Instead of shooting, he drops a pass to a teammate who cannot convert.

7:52: GOAL, Slovakia. We're all tied up at 4-4. Richard Panik roofs it on a hard drive in. Great goal.

5:54: GOAL, Swiss. Samuel Walser scores on the rebound to put his team back up by one, 5-4. Goal is reviewed and stands.

1:50: Switzerland's defense is clamping down. Not many open lanes for Slovaks out there.

0:59: Suddenly, Slovakia looks tired, uninspired. Your entire tourney is on the line, fellas.

0:30: And there you go. Game, set, match. Pestoni slices throught two Slovak defenders for an empty-netter. 6-4, Swiss.

0:00: That's all from here. Switzerland wins and should have enough points to reach the quarterfinal round. Wasn't pretty but they'll take it.

Second Period:

20:00: Surprise, surprise. Slovaks make a goalie change. Riecicky is on the bench. In is backup Juraj Holly.

18:31: GOAL, Slovakia. We have a game again. Slovak forward Marek Hrivik scored to cut the Swiss lead back to one, 3-2.

11:39: Tremendous individual effort by Switzerland defenseman Nicholas Steiner. Slovakia created a 2-on-1 inside the blue line and, somehow, Steiner sprawled out to poke away the puck. This just two minutes after the Slovaks botched another 2-on-1. With a wide-open net, Tomas Jurco couldn't score on the rebound. The red light behind the glass even came on in anticipation of a sure goal. Still 3-2 here.

9:45: GOAL, Swiss. Niederreiter sends a missile in from the left circle to give his team a 4-2 lead.

5:54: Swiss penalty on Tristan Scherwey for cross-checking. Slovaks have the edge in shots, 20-19, and have dominated most of the period.

2:54: GOAL, Swiss. But it's disallowed. Easy call there. Another player clearly in the crease.

0:00: Slovakia plays a much better period of hockey but still down two goals. Not easy to swallow.

First Period:

19:19: And we're off. Swiss in red. Slovaks in white. Swiss Gregory Hofmann rips a hard shot from the left circle that Riecicky stops.

17:05: A little trickeration. Switerland's Reto Schappi drops a no-look pass to Niederreiter behind him and the forward fires a wrister that's saved. Look for Niederreiter to shoot early and often today. Swiss star only had three shots in his team's shutout loss to Finland.

15:10: Swiss goalie Benjamin Conz poke-checks away a good Slovak chance right in front. After a pair of penalties, we'll have some 4-on-4 action now.

11:45: GOAL, Swiss. Puck careens off back wall, out in front and Gregory Hofmann (sounds like a good realtor name, eh?) stuffs it home. 1-0, Switzerland.

10:35: GOAL, Slovakia. And the Slovaks answer immediately. Working behind the net -- a Swiss player jamming his stick in his game --- Michael Vandas somehow flips the puck to Peter Sisovsky in front. Sisovsky scores it and we have a game. Both teams have picked up the tempo after a sluggish start.

8:10: GOAL, Swiss. Wow. Never seen anything like this before. This tops Derek Plante's goal on Ron Tugnutt by a long shot. Swiss defenseman Dominik Schlumpf simply flings a half-hearted shot from the red center line at the goalie in the the middle of a change.....and the puck trickles through Riecicky's five-hole. Just an atrocious goal to let in. That was youth soccer-esque. 2-1, Switzerland. Poor goalie gets a resounding mock cheer after his next save.

1:57: Switzerland will finish the period on the power play after Inti Pestoni beats a Slovak defender and is held.

1:43: Move aside, Riecicky. A new goat is in town. Shorthanded, Slovakia's Juraj Majdan breaks free, is taken down and is promptly rewarded with a penalty shot. Only, on his attempt, Majdan completely whiffes. Maybe this ice needs a Zamboni fast, but that was just hard to watch. Again, HSBC Arena breaks into laughter.

1:08: GOAL, Swiss. Sven Bartschi connects on a slap shot to put his team up, 3-1. After those two Slovakia blunders, the score feels a lot worse than that too.

0:00: Switzerland plays well, sure. But Slovakia sure is trying its best to give this game away.

----

After an uplifting overtime win to begin the tournament, Slovakia took a harsh plunge to reality against Team USA Tuesday in a 6-1 loss. Today, the Slovaks will face a Swiss team that's been up and down thus far. After hanging on to beat Germany, Switzerland was shut out, 4-0, by Finland.

In short, urgency is high for both teams today here at HSBC Arena. The player to watch is no doubt Swiss captain Nino Niederreiter. The New York Islanders' fifth overall pick in the 2010 entry draft struggled big time in his team's loss to Finald. Coach Richard Jost said Niederreiter was pressing.

Really, can you blame him? Nino is the highest drafted Swiss ever. A year ago, he was named a tournament all-star at the World Juniors. Only 16 Swiss players have made it to the NHL. For a 19 year old, he's facing a lot of pressure.

For Switzerland to get back into the medal picture, Niederreiter needs to produce against a reeling Slovak bunch. For Slovakia, goalie Dominik Riecicky needs to recapture his 47-save magic from a few days ago. Keep it right here for updates all game gang. We're roughly 20 minutes away.

---Tyler Dunne

 

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