Anthony Mantha scored on a penalty shot and Griffin Reinhart had a goal and an assist as Canada beat Switzerland 4-1 on Thursday to reach the semifinals of the world junior hockey championship.
Canada will face Finland, who posted a 5-3 comeback win over the Czech Republic, in a semifinal on Saturday at Malmo Arena.
Curtis Lazar and defenceman Derrick Pouliot also scored for Canada, which is 20-0-0 and has a 130-34 goal advantage all-time against the Swiss at the world juniors.
This one was not as easy as previous meetings with the hard-working and team-play oriented Swiss, despite the boost from a pro-Canadian crowd of 2,580 at the Isstadion. The boisterous fans spent much of the game chanting goalie Zach Fucale’s name.
The Canadian squad had to battle the trap throughout the game but managed to score the first goal for the first time in five tournament games. Laughton brought the puck to the net and Reinhart scored on Canada’s third whack at the puck from a scramble in the crease.
The Swiss were caught on a line change and Samuel Kreiss bought down Mantha on a breakaway to draw a penalty shot 9:04 into the second frame. The big winger deked to the backhand to beat Marvin Nyffeler for his fifth goal of the tournament.
Mantha had a shot at a sixth goal when he went in alone late in the period, but was stopped by Nyffeler.
Canada was ready to head to the intermission with a two-goal lead, but Mirco Muller lifted a shot from the point that may have gone off Sam Reinhart’s knee up into the air for Nico Dunner to tip past Fucale with one second left in the period. The goal stood up to review for a high stick.
The teams were each short a man at 4:11 of the third when Griffin Reinhart was stopped on a breakaway only to have Lazar follow in and stuff the puck in. Lazar has a goal in each of Canada’s last three games.
A Swiss power play had just ended when Pouliot skated into the zone and beat Nyffeler with a high wrist shot at 13:49 to seal the win.
Canada is assured of finishing in the top four of the tournament for a 16th year in a row, although they lost their semifinal and finished out of the medals a year ago in Ufa, Russia.