Jonas Hiller rebounded from some shaky moments in regulation to stop two of three attempts by Belarus in the shootout, and lift Switzerland to a 3-2 victory and a berth in the quarterfinals against Team USA.
The Ducks netminder stopped 20 of 22 shots over 70 minutes of hockey, surviving some long rebounds against a relatively weak opponent. Flash forward to the second round of the shootout, where all Hiller has to do is stop Dzmitry Mialeshka’s shot for the win. But Mialeshka embarrasses the Swiss goalie, faking him face-first to the ice then rattling the puck up and over Hiller, between the pipes.
Onto the third round, where Switzerland couldn’t score on the other end, putting the pressure back on Hiller. Belarus’ Sergei Kotstitsyn tried to wrap the puck around Hiller’s right leg, but Hiller made like a snow angel, sticking his skate out to stop the puck at the goal post. It amounted to a poor start but strong finish for the Anaheim goalie, who will probably need a better effort tomorrow to thwart the top-seeded U.S. squad.
Haven’t mentioned Luca Sbisa much because he’s generally been having quiet games for the Swiss. But on Tuesday, Sbisa stood out with an aggressive game. He didn’t figure into the scoring but put two shots on goal and seems to have adapted to the in-your-face North American style of defense. It stood out.