Switzerland and Denmark are officially relegated to Division I after losing their opening games of the relegation round
On the day it stopped snowing in Liberec the Swiss saw its hopes of retaining their elite status vanish as well.
Switzerland knew it had to come up big against Slovakia in their first game of the Relegation Round but ended up losing 5-2. After tonight's Kazakhstan win against Denmark, the Swiss are definitely relegated to Division I next year.
On a positive note, Slovakia secured its spot in the top division for 2009 with the win.
It was almost a copy of the game against Kazakhstan for the Swiss. It wasn’t until the final period before the Swiss started playing. Trailing by three goals, their do-or-die strategy almost paid off. But the Slovaks held off the attack and are now a virtual lock to stay in the top division next year.
Forty seconds into the period Etienne Froidevaux brought back hope when he struck from just inside the offensive line. Barely five minutes later, it was a one-goal game again when Aurelio Lemm rebounded home from close range.
Slovakia was suddenly forced to defend heavily against the rapid shooting Swiss contrary to the first two periods. In the end a pair of empty net goals paved the path for Slovakia.
The first forty minutes had Slovakia comfortably taking a three goal lead. Marek Slovak added his sixth point of the tournament when he scored the game opener. Fed by David Skokan during the team’s first power play, Slovak was wide open in front of Swiss goaltender Robert Mayer and did not hesitate to put his team on the board.
After Dalimir Jancovic had doubled the lead midway the second period, Tomas Marcinko scored with 12 seconds remaining to, what seemed, put the game beyond the Swiss. The goal was a perfect example of the game play during the first two periods.
With a last ditch effort Patrik Lusnak managed to avoid icing. As he crossed the puck in front of net, Marcinko outworked a defensemen at the near post, tipping it behind Mayer.
Erik Caladi and Juraj Mikus also tallied for Slovakia who are now virtually safe having gained the maximum number of six points from two games in the Relegation Series. Switzerland outshot Slovakia 36-21 but where thwarted by Slovak netminder Julius Hudacek who finished with 34 saves.