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Thursday, February 18, 2016

2004 Switzerland National Team Martin Gerber Jersey

At the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy the 12 teams were placed in two groups of six, with the top four in each group advancing to the Medal Round.

Switzerland was not among the top eight ranked teams in the 2004 IIHF World Rankings, and therefore did not have a reserved a place in the tournament, forcing them to participate in the Qualification Tournaments for the chance to earn one of the four remaining spots in the field of 12.

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The Swiss were placed in Group A with Japan, Denmark and Norway, and completed their group schedule with a 3-0 record to advance to Torino.

Once in Italy, they found themselves in Group A with #1 ranked Canada, #4 the Czech Republic, #5 Finland, #8 Germany and hosts Italy.

The Swiss opened their tournament with a resounding loss to Finland by a score of 5-0 on February 15. The very next day, they pulled off a stunner, defeating the Czech Republic by a score of 3-2. Switzerland opened the scoring at 5:11 of the first period on a goal by Thomas Zigler, but Jaromir Jagr tied the game for the Czechs at 2:55 of the second. Switzerland again took the lead at the midway point of the second on a shorthanded goal by Theirry Paterlini and the period would finish 2-1.

One minute into the third the Czechs pulled level on a goal by Marek Zidlicky. NHLer Mark Streit would score on the powerplay for Switzerland just under six minutes later. After killing off a penalty with nine minutes remaining, the Swiss held off the Czechs behind the goaltending of David Aebischer to complete the upset victory.

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Switzerland held off the Czechs for a surprising win

Two days later, on this date in 2002, the Swiss would face off against the top ranked Canadians.

Sixty minutes later, the greatest Olympic upset in Swiss hockey history was complete.

Paul DiPietro scored the first goal at 18:19 after Canada had gone 0-5 on the powerplay during the first period.

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The second goal came while Canada was down two men after penalty calls just 47 seconds apart. DiPietro capitalized on the golden opportunity just 10 seconds into the two man advantage at 8:47 of the second to put the Swiss up by two, but with the crowd still expecting the Canadians to come roaring back at any moment.

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DiPietro's second goal eludes a desperate Brodeur

The Swiss started the third having to kill off a Canadian powerplay three minutes into the period, which they did successfully. Then Martin Gerber's controversial save on Rick Nash while on the powerplay prevented Canada from not only scoring their first goal that many felt was inevitable, but also robbed Canada of some much needed momentum that a goal would have certainly generated.

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Martin Gerber

Canada would have an opportunity to go on the powerplay one final time with exactly two minutes remaining, only to have a penalty called against them just seven seconds later, negating Canada's last, best chance.

The frustrated Canadians would finish the game 0-11 on the powerplay and, as hard as the shutout loss was for the Canadians to grasp, what made it worse was that the goal scorer DiPietro was born in Canada! Gerber had 49 saves for the Swiss, who fielded a team with just two NHL players on their roster and managed only 18 shots in the victory, which would be ranked as the #87 story in the IIHF 100 Top Stories of the Century.

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Paul DiPietro shakes hands with Martin Brodeur following
Swtizerland's memorable upset victory

Today's featured jersey is a 2004 Switzerland National Team Martin Gerber jersey as worn during the 2004 World Championships. This particular style of jersey was first worn by the Swiss in 1998 and would remain in use through 2004 with only a minor change to the collar for 2001, going from a v-neck to a yoke style. 

Gerber began his career with several seasons in the Swiss league and one in Sweden before joining the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim for the 2002-03 season. After two seasons there and the lockout season of 2004-05, Gerber would join the Carolina Hurricanes for 2005-06, where he would get his name engraved on the Stanley Cup, the second Swiss player after fellow goaltender Aebischer to earn that honor.

In the 2008-09 season Gerber would move to the Ottawa Senators for two seasons. During the third season in Ottawa, Gerber would be traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs. For 2009-10, Gerber signed a contract with Atlant Moscow of the Russian KHL but would return to North America in 2010-11 to close out his career with 42 games with the Oklahoma City Barons of the AHL and three final NHL games with the Edmonton Oilers.

Internationally, Gerber would play for Switzerland ten times, beginning with the 2000 World Championships, his first of eight, with the remaining two being the 2002 and 2006 Olympics. He would finish with a 20-24-2 record in 46 games with a 2.37 goals against average and a .916 save percentage.

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Here is Gerber making an astounding, and controversial, save against Rick Nash during his shutout of the Canadians during the 2006 Olympics.

And finally, the last minute of the game as the Swiss players celebrate their upset victory, something they will be looking to repeat in Vancouver.

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