2022 Winter Olympics: ROC begins title defense with narrow victory over Switzerland
Photo: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

The Russian Olympic Committee began defense of their gold medal with a 1-0 victory over Switzerland in Group B at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Anton Slepyshev scored the only goal of the game on a deflected shot in a game where both Ivan Fedotov and Retro Berra were outstanding in net.

Story of the game

The first period saw the puck moved a lot as neither team could keep it in the other's zone. Switzerland went on the first power play of the game when ROC defenseman Alexander Nikishin was called for cross-checking.

After the penalty was killed off, Mikhail Grigorenko skated past Gaetan Haas and Sven Andrighetto and walked in on net where Berra made a vital poke-check.

He did the same to Slepyshev while the defense in front of him kept the ROC attack mainly to the outside. In the final seconds of the period, the Swiss were unlucky to give up the lone goal of the contest with just 2.7 seconds left.

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"We had an attack going and logic said it wasn't quite finished yet", he said. " I knew there were a couple of seconds left and I had to get the puck to the slot. Then we got a lucky bounce."

Slepyshev attempted a pass to the slot that bounced back to him and he went around the back of the net, scooped a backhander that deflected off Switzerland defender Envo Corvi's leg and past Berra.

The defending champions started the strong and put more pressure on the Swiss goal. Stanislav Galiyev was whistled for high-checking Christoph Bertschy in the face. With the man advantage, Andrighetto hit the crossbar.

Fedotov was then called into action as he saved from Joel Vermin, who re-directed Corvi's shot. Gregory Hofmann was then next to test Fedotov as he steered a feed from Corvi on net, but the goalkeeper also stopped that.

Late in the period, Slepyshev was assessed a double-minor for a clash of heads with Weber. On the ensuing power play, Vermin had the best chance, Fedotov making the save with the rebound eluding Andrighetto.

In the third, the ROC had a chance to put the game away, but Nikishin hit the post and Berra made a pad save to deny Nikita Gusev. 

The Swiss still had some good play left in them and Fabrice Herzog nearly tied the game. After his first shot was stopped by Fedotov, his second got behind the netminder, but glanced off of the post.

With 30 seconds remaining, Berra was pulled for the extra attacker and Hoffmann had the lone chance, which he skied over the crossbar as time eventually ran out.

"We did a lot of things right but obviously, we didn't score", said Swiss head coach Patrick Fischer. "That was our main problem today, but I'm happy with the guys.

"Russia is a fast, strong, physical team and our defense held up well and our goalie was stopping the pucks."