After failing to win a game during the preliminary round, Switzerland has advanced to the quarterfinal after beating the Czech Republic 4-2 in men's Olympic qualification round action.
Switzerland will meet with Finland in the qualification game on Wednesday, with the Finns looking to use its rest to its advantage after winning all of its round-robin contests.
The Czech Republic, led by GM Petr Nedved and coach Filip Pesan, will miss the quarterfinal game for the first time in the team's history as an independent nation in Olympic competition. The Czechs lost the bronze medal game in 2018 but won gold in 1998 and bronze in 2006.
The loss means two of the top four teams from 2018 – the Czech Republic and Germany – will finish in the bottom four in 2022.
It didn't start off that badly for the Czechs. After using a screen in front to take away the lane from Swiss goaltender Leonardo Genoni, Lukas Klok's wrist shot from the point soared through traffic and into the back of the net to make it 1-0 Czech Republic.
But a 13-second attack changed everything. On a scramble on the power play, veteran Andres Ambuhl found a loose puck in the crease after Calvin Thurkauf got the shot on net to make it 1-0. On the next play, Killian Mottet scored in close off of Denis Hollenstein's pass to turn the game on its head and put Switzerland up ahead. The Swiss then had another four shots on the next play, forcing the Czechs to play heavy defense to just give goaltender Simon Hrubec a break.
Things went from bad to worse for the Czechs. At 29:53, former NHL forward Denis Malgin sent a shot past Hrubec to make it 3-1, giving Switzerland a perfect run on the man advantage in the game and the biggest lead the team has managed to hold all tournament long after posting an 0-2-1 record in the round robin.
A goal by Raphael Diaz with 5:03 left to play looked to have taken the Czechs out of the game completely, but Roman Cervenka had other ideas. With the goalie pulled a power play to boot, Cervenka took David Krejci's feed and made it 4-2 to give the Czechs a late boost with four minutes left to play. It wasn't enough, though, as Genoni and the defense in front held strong to finalize the victory.