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Hockey Wilderness
  • Noon Number for 8-5-2013: 22


    Switzerland isn't exactly what you'd call a hockey powerhouse. The Swiss go into this Olympics attempting to break a 66 year dry spell, winning their last Olympic medal in 1948. And it was Bronze. Despite having about the population of Sweden and Finland, Switzerland hasn't had nearly the success of those countries, and doesn't have the numbers that Canada, United States, and Russia can offer.

    Nino Niederreiter- Right Winger #22- Team Switzerland

    World Junior Championships

    Niederreiter had OK, but not overly impressive U-18 WJC showings, scoring 2 points in 6 games in 2009 as a 16 year old, and 6 points in 6 games as a 17 year old. In the main tournament, he fared better, breaking out in 2010 with 10 points (6 of them goals) in 7 games. This included the game-tying and game-winning goals in an OT victory to eliminate Russia. While Nino and the Swiss were stomped by Canada and Sweden in the semi-finals and third-place game, respectively, Niederreiter made the tournament's All-Star Team.

    The next year was somewhat of a step back for Nino, as he went 2-2-4 in 6 games as the Swiss went on to lose in the quarterfinals.

    World Championships

    Nino was a non-factor his first two go-rounds in the World Championships, as he was pointless in 10 games. However, you may expect that from a player at the age of 18 and 19, on a team that is short on offensive firepower.

    However, he broke out in his most recent World Championship, scoring 5 goals and 3 assists in 10 games. This includes a game-tying goal that propelled the Swiss to a shootout win. But the biggest highlight for Niederreiter was scoring the game-winning goal in Switzerland's 3-0 win against the United States (he later assisted on another goal). That particular win came in the semi-finals, meaning that Switzerland would go on to win it's first World Championship medal (Silver) in 60 years.

    Outlook for Sochi

    But that's a lot of ifs.

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