Switzerland SUI
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1 SEP 2022
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Japan JPN
Quarterfinals
12:00KVIK Hockey Arena
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Referee(s)
KAINBERGER Julia
LIEFFERS Cianna
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HAMMAR Anna
SAARIMAKI Tiina
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Swiss to semis after shootout win
By Andrew Podnieks | 01 SEP 2022
Japanese goalkeeper Miyuu Masuhara tracks the puck with her glove after the shot from Switzerland's Evelina Raselli.
photo: Matt Zambonin / HHOF-IIHF Images
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Alina Marti scored the decisive goal in the shootout to give Switzerland a 2-1 win over Japan and a berth in the semi-finals on Saturday. Marti beat goalie Miyuu Masuhara with a shot under the blocker, and Sinja Leemann added another to ensure victory. The game was 1-1 through 60 minutes of regulation and another ten minutes of three-on-three overtime, which settled nothing.

"I'm just happy for the win right now and so proud of our team," said interim captain Evelina Raselli. "The last few days have been crazy, but everyone stepped up today, especially after the second period when we were behind 1-0."

The Swiss are likely to play the U.S. in one semi-finals while Japan will fight with the other three QF losers in a qualification pool to see which team finishes fifth and stays in the more demanding Goup A.

"We know if we play the U.S. it will be really tough, but we're going to prepare our game plan and make the best of it," said Raselli. "We're here, and we're in the semi-finals and we'll be playing for a medal on the weekend. It's so important for our federation and for our program, to stay in Group A."

The game was played in fornt of a boisterous, pro-Japan crowd that got their money's worth. Japan outshot the Swiss 33-24 and looked like the better team for some stretches of play, but although the team went ahead 1-0 it couldn't add to the tally or hold the lead.

"It would have meant a lot to us to make the semi-finals for the first time, but it wasn't meant to be," lamented Masuhara, who made the save of the game seconds into overtime when she blockered away a breakaway shot from Leemann to keep the game going.

The game was a battle between two teams that have been adversely affected by injury and Covid infections. In the case of Switzerland, they were without Alina Muller and captain Lara Stalder, both of whom have tested positive for Covid in the last few days. Additionally, Laura Zimmerman and Noemi Ryhner are gone for the tournament with injuries, leaving coach Colin Muller with 16 healthy skaters.

The Japanese were without three players today as well, notably Kohane Sato, Ami Sasaki, and Yumeka Wajima.

Nevertheless, the games have to be played, and the first period proved what the line-ups showed – there was an element of skill missing. The Swiss, 0-for-16 on the power play coming into the game, had two more chances in the opening period but didn’t test Masuhara to any great degree. 

The Japanese, however, could mount little in the way of offence, and the Swiss did a great job in their own end of moving the puck out quickly. Raselli, wearing the “C” while Stalder is out, had a good chance for the Swiss but couldn’t beat Masuhara, while Braendli made a nice pad save off a quick shot by Hikaru Yamashita.
Switzerland vs Japan (QF) - 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship
Alina Marti scored the decisive goal in the shootout to give Switzerland a 2-1 win over Japan and a berth in the semi-finals.
SUI JPN 01 SEP 2022
Although the first period was scoreless, the game titled in Japan’s favour as the second wore on, largely due to confidence the longer the game remained scoreless. In seven previous meetings, the Japanese had lost all games to the Swiss by a cumulative score of 26-9. Ayaka Hitosato made a nice play in front of the Swiss goal, threading a hard pass to Chisata Miyazaki, who tipped it just wide. 

Raselli was stoned again by Masuhara, but the Japanese again came close on a perfectly-executed two-on-one. Miyuri Ogawa sent Yoshino Enomoto in the clear, but Enomoto blasted a hard drive high. Finally, at 14:35, Japan broke the ice. Hitosato drove down the right side and cut to the net, and Braendli made the save but went down. Haruka Toko followed the play and got two cracks at the loose puck, flipping it into the net with the second rebound and giving Japan a 1-0 lead.

The Japanese, who had never reached the semi-finals and can boast of sixth place as their best finish, were the dominant team the rest of the period, the Swiss stunned by the goal, the Japanese playing with evermore confidence.

Japan got its first power play of the game early in the third, and that proved problematic. A turnover at centre ice allowed Raselli and Sinja Leemann to go in alone on Masuhara. Raselli passed over right at the crease, and Leemann poked the puck in at 6:01, a short-handed goal to tie the game and ignite the Swiss bench.

"Players who know me know I'm always trying to get the goalie out of position," Raselli explained. "Then it's easier for the other person. It was just so important for us to get that goal."

The rest of the game felt like overtime, next goal wins, but teams became more cautious and looked to be happy to go to the shootout. And that's where Switzerland sealed the deal.
Switzerland vs Japan (QF) - 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship