Momentum had swung against them.
Carrying a two-goal advantage into the game’s final frame, team Norway was twenty minutes removed from securing its first victory of the 2016 IIHF World Championships on Sunday. At the end of the period, though, the Norwegians stood helpless, victory wrested from them courtesy of a last-gasp equalizer by team Switzerland’s Felicien du Bois.
10 seconds had stood between them and a win. Three minutes later, they came out on top.
In a back-and-forth contest at Moscow’s Ice Palace, the Norwegian contingent edged their Swiss counterparts by a final score of 4-3, propelled by Colorado Avalanche left wing Andreas Martinsen’s power play tally and the combined five-point performance of brothers Mathis and Ken Andre Olimb.
Norway found itself down early: 2:27 into the tilt, HC Davos forward Samuel Walser pounced on a loose puck, cramming it past netminder Lars Volden for the early lead. The Norwegians would pull thmselves back even before the frame let out, as Ken Andre Olimb’s goal sent the match into the first intermission at a 1-1 deadlock.
Gifted by the sticks of Martin Roymark and Mathis Olimb, a Norwegian brace coupled with a Volden shutout period to wedge the gap open to two. However, in spite of Volden’s best efforts, the Swiss managed to claw themselves back in the game, forcing overtime in the match’s final minute.
Outshooting the Norwegians 15-10 in the third period, the Swiss struck early, halving their deficit on an even-strength goal by Simon Moser. Pounding a slap shot from the point, defenseman Raphael Diaz rifled a shot on net, rebounding in traffic to Moser, who would finish the play to cut the Norwegian lead to one.
Du Bois applied the apparent coup-de-grace at 19:50 of the frame, deflecting a Diaz shot past Volden to knot the game at three and shift momentum to the Swiss bench.
However, whatever momentum that goal netted Switzerland was soon lost: Two minutes into overtime, Vancouver Canucks rearguard Yannick Weber took an ill-advised high-sticking penalty, setting the Swiss on the defensive and gifting Norway the opportunity it needed to clinch. 3:23 into the extra frame, Martinsen would combine with Mathis Olimb for the game-winning tally, feathering a snap shot past Swiss goaltender Robert Mayer for the win.
Fresh off of their victory, the Norwegians will have an off-day before remaining in Moscow to take on surprising mid-table side Kazakhstan on Tuesday, May 10th. The Swiss, on the other hand, square off against Denmark the same day, hoping to climb the round robin standings.