The 5,900 fans in Lausanne saw a tight game in which Margaux Favre earned a shutout with 23 saves while Jade Surdez and Alina Marti scored the game’s only two goals in the penalty-shot shootout.
“It’s been my dream for a long time to play the first game here. It’s amazing to win the game and when I get a shutout I don’t say no,” said Favre, who plays here hockey not far away from here with a boys’ team from Bulle and the women’s senior team from Neuchatel.
“We saw them already practising. We saw that they’re not bad, that they’re fast but we didn’t allow to stress ourselves and in the end the game went well for us.”
Four years ago Switzerland had two 2-1 losses against the Czechs, first in regulation time in the preliminary round, then by the same score in a shootout in the semi-finals. The Czechs ended up winning silver, the Swiss bronze. This time the Swiss made a step to turn the fortune.
The Czechs had the edge over the Swiss in the first period of the game. They were more active in the offence and gave Swiss goaltender Favre more work than the Swiss did on the other side. Especially two minor penalties helped the Czechs spend time in the Swiss zone. However, the outcome was neutral: no goals after the first period despite at 13-3 shot advantage for the Czechs.
Things changed a bit in the second period where the Swiss had more power-play time and a 7-4 shot-on-goal advantage in addition to a post shot from Jana Peter. What remained the same was the score: 0-0.
The Swiss started the third period with a power play and were close when the puck changed sides after a blocked shot to Surdez with an open net but she didn’t reach the puck in time. Otherwise it was the Czechs who set the tone but didn’t capitalize on their chances to score in regulation time. Same like the first game this one had to be decided in a penalty-shot shootout.
There Favre remained unbeaten while Surdez and Marti netted the puck in both shots for Switzerland to give their team the extra point.
Round 1: CZE Bartakova misses, SUI Surdez 0-1.
Round 2: CZE Gruntova misses, SUI Marti 0-2.
The Swiss players stayed to skate around the ice for a standing ovation before assembling around the centre-ice circle for motivational battle cries ending with: “We are the queens!”
The Swiss can now earn a first-place finish in the group in their game against Japan on Saturday. But first the Czechs will play a must-win game against Japan tomorrow.