Switzerland rides play of goalie

Updated: December 28, 2004, 12:52 PM ET
Associated Press

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Kevin Romy scored twice and goaltender Michael Tobler made 19 saves as Switzerland defeated Belarus 5-0 Sunday to win its opening game in the World Junior Hockey Championship.

Tobler made four difficult saves in the first five minutes as Belarus controlled play. But Switzerland regrouped to escape the first period with a 1-0 lead on Roman Wick's wraparound goal.

"Getting the lead was very important because (Belarus) had already played a game and you usually have the most difficulty in your first game," Switzerland Coach Jakob Kolliker said. "Our goalie had good positioning and he stayed cool."

In the second period, the Swiss added three unanswered goals in 6:10.

Romy scored shorthanded, stealing a pass at center ice and going in alone on Belarus goalie Stepan Goryachevskikh. Victor Stancescu made it 3-0 after taking a pass from Clarence Kparghai just as he left the penalty box. Marco Kaser capped the run after a set-up pass from Fabian Schnyder.

Romy's second goal was the only score of the third period.

"The big key was our defensive positioning," Kolliker said.

"We played basic, patient defense and didn't take many chances."

Goryachevskikh made 32 saves for Belarus, which fell to 0-2 with its second loss in two days.

"We would never think that we could have such a bad game," said Belarus assistant coach Aliaksei Shcheblanow.

It was the tournament opener for Switzerland, which plays 1-0 United States on Monday.

Linus Persson and Johannes Salmonsson scored two goals apiece as Sweden opened the tournament with a 6-0 win over Germany in a game in Thief River Falls, Minn. Carl Soderberg and Elias Granat also scored, and Christopher Heino-Lindberg made 25 saves for Sweden. Thomas Greiss made 31 saves for Germany, which fell to 0-2.

The tournament runs through Jan. 4.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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