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Conz's glove keeps Swiss in the game

Goaltender Benjamin Conz did all he could to keep Switzerland in its quarterfinal game against Canada as he stopped 46 of 49 shots (Canada's final goal was Zack Kassian's empty netter). Conz was particularly good in the first period, when he stopped 22 of 23.

Conz has been one of the surprise stars of the tournament. He made 40 saves in Friday night's 2-1 loss to the United States. He's faced 197 shots in five games, an average of nearly 40 an outing, and stopped 181. His goals-against average is 3.21 and his save percentage is .918.

"That's my job, to stop shots and keep our team in the game," Conz said through an interpreter. "In the end, we were just a little bit short."

The Canadians could get nothing past Conz over the first 37 minutes except for Ryan Johansen's goal at 15:06 of the first period.

"There was a lot of teamwork to help me in the first period," Conz said. "That's why I was able to stop so many shots and the game was tied."

Largely because of his size (5-10, 198) Conz has gone undrafted by the NHL the last two years but was picked by St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League in June.

What does Conz think about tonight's Canada-USA game now that he's faced both teams back-to-back?

"It will be a really close game," he said before breaking into a smile. "I hope a goalie makes the difference."

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Conz was not named Player of the Game for his team as bizarre selections continue to abound. The honor instead went to Inti Pestoni, who scored the lone Swiss goal on a flub by Canada netminder Mark Visentin.

Then came Russia's stunning comeback win over Finland capped by Yevgeni Kuznetsov's rocket in overtime which was his second goal of game. Did Kuznetsov get picked? Nope. It was defenseman Dmitri Orlov.

TSN commentator Pierre McGuire ripped the game selections last week after Canada's Brayden Schenn was not chosen following a four-goal game against Norway. Said McGuire: "If they're going to do that, they may as well not pick them."

Three tournament officials asked about the topic Sunday night said individual national federations make the choices and seem to be adopting a spread-the-wealth approach.

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Attendance was announced at 14,890 for the Canada-Switzerland game and 13,471 for Russia-Finland, although the crowd in the building was in the 6,000 range by the overtime finish.

That puts the total thus far at 251,168, already fourth all-time in tournament annals. The record of 453,282 was set two years ago in Ottawa.

Officials from next year's tourney in Calgary and Edmonton already claim to have enough ticket lottery requests to sell out every game and claim a record total of more than 570,000.

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Switzerland coach Richard Jost was cranked in the side of the head by an errant puck in the first period and left the bench to get tended to by trainers.

Assistant coach Alex Reinhard met the media -- sporting a black eye from a puck he took in an earlier game and reporting Jost had a concussion.

"I think next year we have to coach with helmets," Reinhard joked.

Responded Canada coach Dave Cameron: "I want these guys on my shinny team."

e-mail: mharrington@buffnews.com

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