GANGNEUNG, South Korea, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Pius Suter scored a hat-trick as Switzerland overpowered the South Korean men’s ice hockey team 8-0 on Saturday to claim their first win of the Olympic tournament.
The game, while played before a full house at the Gangneung Hockey Centre, featured far less of the crowd energy that greeted the South Korean men in their debut match against the Czechs, when they scored their first-ever Olympic goal in a 2-1 loss.
The Koreans could not match their scoring effort either and found themselves shut out. They were largely outskated from the start, with the Swiss dominating time of possession and limiting their opponents to only a handful of quality opportunities.
Switzerland got on the board first about midway into the first period, when Gaetan Haas picked up a loose puck in the Korean zone, carried it around the net and tried to jam it in on the right goal post. The rebound came right to Denis Hollenstein, who forced it through goaltender Matt Dalton’s pads.
The Swiss went up 2-0 in the second period when Felicien du Bois’s hard slap shot from the right point hit Dalton in the chest and popped up and over his shoulder toward the net. Dalton dove trying to stop it going in but caught it just after it crossed the line.
They made it 3-0 late in the second when Suter carried the puck behind the net and jammed it in by the left post, forcing it over Dalton’s skate.
In the third period, Tomas Rufenacht charged in on the left wing and then pulled to his right, beating Korean defensman Eric Regan and lifting the puck past Dalton.
Suter picked up his second goal in the third period, chasing Dalton from the net. Reto Schaeppi scored about a minute after Park Sungje came into goal for the Koreans, and Suter’s third came a few minutes later. Enzo Corvi scored late.
The Koreans’ best chance came in the third period with a four-on-three man advantage, but they could not capitalise despite several scrambles around Swiss goalkeeper Jonas Hiller.
One notable absence at the game was the North Korean cheerleader squad, which made an unexpected appearance at the Czech game on Thursday. (Reporting By Dan Burns; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)