Pius Suter will be seeing some familiar faces in the opposition lineup when the Detroit Red Wings center and Switzerland take on Team USA in the quarterfinals of the IIHF World Championship in Helsinki, Finland on Thursday.
The USA lineup includes his occasional Red Wings teammate, Grand Rapids Griffins forward Riley Barber. Red Wings training Piet Van Zant and former Detroit coach Jeff Blashill will be on the USA bench.
“I know a few players from there,” Suter acknowledged to Finnish website Jatkoaika.com. “The (USA) team plays fast and physical puck and they have had many tough games so far. It’s a good team, so you have to be ready.”
— Hockey News Hub (@HockeyNewsHub) May 24, 2022
With 3-5-8 totals through seven games, Suter is tied for fifth in tournament scoring. More signficantly, the Swiss are 7-0 and entering the medal round as the champions of Group A. As Suter was celebrating his 26th birthday on Tuesday, the Swiss were beating Detroit teammate Moritz Seider and Germany to clinch top seeding in the pool.
“It probably wasn’t my best birthday,” Suter said with a laugh. “As a child they were much nicer.
“But yes, this is a good day when we won the block and got another victory after all. However, that was our goal to this day.”
As successful as the Swiss have been so far, Suter recognizes that past triumphs will mean little in the one-and-done knockout format of the medal round.
#IIHFWorlds prelims ✔️
🇩🇪 Mo Seider: 1G, 5A, +5
🇨🇭 Pius Suter: 3G, 5A, +4
🇨🇿 Jakub Vrana: 1G
🇨🇿 Filip Hronek: +1
🇺🇸 Riley Barber: 1G, +2
🇸🇪 Magnus Hellberg: 4W, 1SO pic.twitter.com/vOE3CoTLHY
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) May 25, 2022
“The games played so far mean nothing from now on,” Suter said. “Of course, they give confidence to the future.”
“However, when the puck falls, it doesn’t matter. The most important thing is to be ready to play.”
Switzerland Seeking First World Title
Switzerland has never won a world title. The Swiss came close on two recent occasions, winning the silver medal in 2013 and 2018. Suter wasn’t part of either of those squads.
“We have found different ways to win,” he says of this year’s squad. “Sometimes through overpower, underpower and even play. However, I don’t think too much about our strengths.”
The Swiss stumbled from the gate their past two games. They were down 2-1 to Germany after one period and trailed France 2-0 following the opening 20 minutes of play. But they came storming back to win both games.
“In the previous two games, our first installments have been weak, but we have fought in the second installment,” Suter said. “Of course, you don’t be left behind too much at the beginning of the game.”