By Spengler

Switzerland is the first team to qualify for the semi-finals at the 91st Spengler Cup in Davos. Without any extra fanfare, they won Thursday afternoon’s game against Hämeenlinna HPK 4-0. Luca Boltshauser gets the shutout in his debut for the Swiss National Team.

After their 6:1 win in their first game against Dynamo Riga, Patrick Fischer’s Team had to fight a lot harder for the 3 points resulting from their 4:0 win against Hämeenlinna in front of 6300 spectators in the sold-out Vaillant Arena. The Finns were the better team during the first 10 minutes of the game. The Swiss goalie, Luca Boltshauser, prevented an early lead through several saves. Tristan Scherwey’s goal in the 14th minute was probably one of the first possible shots-on-goal for the Swiss. The forward (from Bern) was able to successfully complete a quick counterattack. Reto Schäppi increased the lead at the beginning of the second period when he deflected a long shot from Yannick Rathgeb.

The shots-on-goal ratio during the second period was 10-1 for the Swiss Team. Nevertheless, they were unable to consistently dictate the game against this 14th placed team in the Finnish league. Boltshauser was only tested once during this period, this was not only because the Finns regularly missed the net but also because of the self-sacrificing hard work and well-positioned defensemen of the Swiss team. This was especially clear in the box play phases.

Offensively, the Swiss also had some difficulties with the well-structured game of the young Finns under the leadership of Antti Karjalainen. Fischer’s team showed weakness in power play situations. They did not utilize their advantage in several five-on-four situations, even in 41 seconds of five-on-three. Noah Rod and Joël Vermin were able to make the final result clear with shorthand goals in the third period.