Switzerland SUI
6 FEB 2022
United States USA
Preliminary Round
21:10Wukesong Sports Centre
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Game details
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USA routs Swiss
By Andy Potts | 06 FEB 2022
Team USA’s Hilary Knight (#21) celebrates with Megan Keller (#5), Kendall Coyne Schofield (#26), Hannah Brandt (#20) and Savannah Harmon (#15) after scoring a goal against Switzerland.
photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images
A devastating attacking display from Team USA secured the Americans’ biggest victory at these Games to date. After blasting five unanswered goals in the first period, this was a case of ‘how many?’ for the defending champion as Switzerland struggled to come up with any answers to the speed and accuracy of the U.S. forwards.

There were two goals apiece for Hilary Knight, Jesse Compher and Kelly Pannek, with Amanda Kessel and Dani Cameranesi also on the scoresheet in an emphatic 8-0 victory.

It's a third convincing win for the Americans here, and Kessel talked about how much the team could take from these lopsided scorelines. "It is just about finding ways to win and scoring goals in different ways," she said. "Sometimes these games are tough when it is in one end all the time, you have to find ways to generate goals.

"We've been getting them from all over, and that's nice to see."

Both teams handed first starts to their goalies today. For Team USA, Alex Cavallini got the nod. The 30-year-old was on the golden roster in PyeongChang but did not play in the 2018 Games. Today she made her Olympic debut, following Maddie Rooney and Nicole Hensley onto the ice in Beijing. Cavallini finished with a shut-out, stopping 12 shots in a game that demanded concentration more than acrobatics in front of the net. Switzerland, meanwhile, rotated Andrea Brandli out of the firing line after allowing 17 goals in the first two games. Saskia Maurer, a 20-year-old who plays for University of St. Thomas in the NCAA, stepped in for her first taste of Olympic action – and endured a baptism of fire at the hands of a rampant American offence.

The first power play of the game saw Knight open the scoring. Her net drive saw Maurer block the initial shot but the rebound went back to the experienced forward, who switched from backhand to forehand before finding the top shelf. The pressure on the Swiss net was constant and by the end of the first period the floodgates were open. On 14:04, Compher potted her second goal in two days, rifling home a one-timer from between the hash marks. Nine seconds later Knight got her second of the game, catching Maurer unawares with an instinctive snipe from out on the left-hand boards.

As one of the most experienced members of the roster, Knight is well-placed to assess how Team USA is shaping up in Beijing. "It's one of those things where you have to find a way to win, and sometimes it looks different," she said. "But if we are winning, we are executing as a team and we are growing as a team.

"I think we are going to be in a really good spot."

And the goals kept coming. Team USA was circling the Swiss zone at will and Pannek stepped in from the right-hand boards to shoot home before the dot. Late in the frame, another power play saw Kessel squeeze the puck past Maurer from a tight angle.

Kessel joked that she would challenge her brother, NHL star Phil, to replicate that goal. "He's not a one-timer kind of person, so I don't think [he'd have scored like that]. I'll have to challenge him on that one."

After facing 22 shots in that opening frame, Maurer was retired from the game and Brandli returned to action in the second period. Initially, this offered little change in the game, with Pannek grabbing her second of the night just two minutes into the session.

For Pannek, who played in PyeongChang without a goal, her second Olympic experience is going well. "It's fun getting on the offence and obviously winning the game is the best part, but being able to score a goal at the Olympics is pretty special," she said. "As a team we've played with everyone else a lot. We didn't really settle into lines until the Olympics so the familiarity with everyone is pretty high.

"With Dani [Cameranesi] and Grace [Zumwinkle] we're all committed to playing a physical style, not necessarily depending on pretty plays. Once you get the gritty plays, the pretty plays open up, so we're trying to be dependable at both ends of the ice."

However, Switzerland began to put some obstacles in the way of the American offence and even created a good chance of its own. Lara Stadler, the Swiss attacking spark so far in Beijing, released Phoebe Staenz with a long pass. Staenz executed a neat interchange with Alina Muller but her shot found Cavallini’s pads. There was a further opportunity for Switzerland when Abby Roque took a penalty – a call that drew vehement protests from the American forward – but the PK was resolute.

Stadler was encouraged by Switzerland's response after that first-period mauling. "We took a stupid penalty there and it kinda got them going," she said. "They got a couple after that and we kind of lost it.

"But we showed character in the second period, how we battled back and in the third we took another step and battled hard."

At the other end, Brandli was performing wonders to keep the scoreline down. She stopped 22 shots in the middle session but had no answer when Compher decided to go it alone late in the frame to add a seventh.

Knight was close to a hat-trick early in the third after strong play from Kendall Coyne Schofield, but Brandli’s pad denied the U.S. alternate captain on that occasion. The Swiss goalie continued to impress in the closing stages, notably with a triple save to deny Abbey Murphy, but even she had no answer when Pannek's pass picked out Cameranesi all alone in front of the net to complete the scoring late on. However, Brandli can be satisfied with a good day's work after stopping 41 of the 44 shots she faced across her two periods in the game.

And Stadler felt that a test against the best could only benefit her team. "It's so much fun playing against [the USA and Canada]," she added. "It shows what's possible for women's hockey. Every line could be a first line on most other teams and they show that there's no limits.

"It also shows us where the top is and maybe what our younger players have to work towards."

While Switzerland prepares to face Finland tomorrow, Team USA's next game renews its rivalry with Team Canada in a clash that will decide the battle for top spot in Group A.

"Our team is right where we need to be at the right time," Kessel said of that clash. "We had a bunch of games cancelled against them the past few months, so we have been waiting for this day to have another chance to play them."
Switzerland vs United States - 2022 Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Tournament