The game was punctuated by a scary situation in the third period when Canadian captain Marie-Philip Poulin blocked a shot in her collarbone/neck area during a 3-on-5 situation. She barely made it off the ice on her own and didn't return.
"Obviously a scary situation in the game, but I'm happy to say that Marie-Philip is doing very well. We're going to continue to assess her," said Gina Kingsbury of Hockey Canada.
Coming into the game the Swiss were underdogs by a wide margin. Not only had they never defeated Canada in Women’s Worlds play in six previous games, they hadn’t even scored a single goal in that time. In fact, their best result was a 6-0 loss, something they had achieved twice.
To make matters worse, they were without their star forward, Alina Muller, who suffered a nasty-looking leg injury in the team’s last game against ROC. In the team’s first two games of the tournament the Swiss had scored only once, and that off the stick of the aforementioned Muller. Muller can not only play the game with speed, she has great vision in the offensive end and can make a great pass or finish a play, attributes that collectively are key to Switzerland’s success.
"We weren't thinking about not having her with us," said captain Lara Stadler. "We wanted to come in and battle hard, and in the first period we showed what we can do. We had great goaltending again, which is what we need."
The game was the third in a row in which Canada failed to score in the first period but then overwhelmed their opponents in the second.
"I don't think there's anything to be concerned about," said coach Troy Ryan. "Obviously, we'd like to have a better start, but I think a lot of time the energy you bring to the first period sets yourself up for success in the second. So far, that's been the case. We've worn down our opponent in the first and reaped the benefits in the second."
Special teams are another anomaly. Canada has been nearly perfect on the penalty kill this tournament, allowing only two goals on 13 chances, but it has yet to score with the man advantage, going 0-12 despite leading the tournament with 15 goals.
"We liked our power play today," Ryan continued. "We thought Sarah Fillier and Poulin were doing great with the passing and attacking. There are many ways to judge success on your power play, and we kept our momentum with it tonight. We want to score, but there's no need to panic."
At the other end, the Swiss were 0-6 with the extra skater, further emphasizing their need to put the puck in the net when they get a chance.
"We really tried to change our power play tonight," said coach Colin Muller. "We wanted to get people in front of the net, create some confusion in front and jump on rebounds. That was our game plan, but we didn't follow it too well. It's very difficult against the Canadians to set up the power play. We didn't move the puck quickly enough. Overall, we played a really good 10 or 15 minutes at the start of the game."
And so, when the first period ended 0-0, the Swiss had made a bit of history right there. It was only the second time they had held Canada without a goal in any period of the previous 18 (2nd period in 2019). But the Swiss also didn’t test Maschmeyer too much at the other end, and it seemed only a matter of time before Canada would solve the Braendli puzzle.
Sure enough, Canada got the game’s first goal at 5:04 of the second, and it came short-handed. Blayre Turnbull made a sensational rush down the right side and beat Braendli with a deke, but the puck hit the post. Emily Clark, following up on the play, knocked in the loose puck, though, for an important 1-0 lead.
"I think they got a little nervous when it was 0-0 after the first period," Stalder noted. "I think on that power play where they got the short-handed goal it would have been a different game if we had scored."
Four minutes later, Canada got a bit of a lucky goal off a 3-on-2 rush. Poulin fired a pass to the middle, but the puck bounced off Jamie Bourbonnais and in. And then just 17 seconds later, they made it 3-0. Renata Fast took a long wrist shot that Natalie Spooner redirected past Braendli.
The Canadians added a fourth goal of the frame late after a mad and pressure-filled sequence which saw one Swiss player lose her stick. Erin Ambrose took the shot, and Melodie Daoust deflected the puck off the shaft of her stick and in.
Switzerland got its best chance to score late in the period after a bad giveaway by Shelton outside her blue line. Stalder picked off the puck and skated in alone, but her quick shot looking for the five-hole was rejected by Maschmeyer to keep it a 4-0 game and to keep the Swiss scoreless all time against the Canadians.
"I think on breakaways if you come with a lot of speed I don't want to deke because I might get pressure from behind, so I tried to go five-hole, but she covered it well," Stalder explained.
Spooner did it again early in the third when she redirected a Shelton point shot at 1:01 to make it 5-0. That spelled the end for the beleaguered Braendli, who was replaced by Saskia Maurer, who made her senior WW debut for the Swiss on Saturday and was letter perfect the rest of the way.
The Swiss had another great chance to capitalize when Canada took two quick penalties and were down two skaters for 85 seconds, but the PK did its job. A little later, Evelina Raselli had an open net off her own rebound but couldn't get the puck over the pad of the sprawling Canadian goalie.
And now the showdown North American fans have been waiting for – Canada versus the United States, Thursday afternoon Calgary time.
"The part we liked about tonight's game is the types of goals we scored tonight were playoff-type goals, net front, jamming away from below the goal line," Ryan continued. "Those are the types of goals we're going to have to score moving forward. It was good to see."
The Swiss also finish their preliminary round on Thursday, playing Finland in the early game.