To make matters worse, Stefanie Wetli suffered an injury in the team’s game yesterday against the United States and also sat out. And two more players, Noemi Ryhner and Lara Zimmermann, were injured during the game, leaving Muller with only 13 skaters for the last half of the game.
"It's not pretty at the moment," offered Swiss coach Colin Muller. "We're down to skin and bones. We have to see what tomorrow brings. I'm scared we're going to lose another couple and then we've got a problem. I don't know what the rules are here. We're hoping we can get three or four players back, that would help. I was happy with the way we battled. I think maybe the Finns took their foot off the gas in the second half, which I'm really happy and thankful for. Our girls just did what they could. I'm pretty happy with the result; we can't expect much more."
Anni Keisala and Jenna Silvonen combined to stop only six shots for Finland. At the other end, two Swiss goalies faced 44 shots. Andrea Braendli allowed the first three in half a game while Saskia Maurer allowed the fourth in the back half.
The Swiss will finish in fourth now and play fifth-place Japan in one quarter-finals while Finland will play Czechia, the top team in Group B, in another.
The opening faceoff was preceded by a ceremony at centre ice honouring Finland’s captain, Jenni Hiirikoski, who is playing in her record 14th Women’s Worlds. She received a plaque and commemorative sweater from IIHF Council member Zsuzsanna Kolbenheyer to appreciative applause from the crowd at HVIK Arena.
Finland pounced on the roster advantage early, scoring at 2:51 to get moving in the right direction. Susanna Tapani jammed the puck in during a goalmouth scramble, nothing pretty but a goal is a goal.
Three-and-a-half minutes later, they doubled their lead on a nice play by Elisa Holopainen. She came out front untouched and roofed a shot over Saskia Maurer’s glove at 6:25.
Soon after Noemi Ryhner was hit by a shot on her hand and did not return, reducing the Swiss list of available skaters to 14.
Muller switched goalies midway through the period just to give Braendli a break. She had made several fine saves, including stoning Petra Nieminen on a breakaway, but Saskia Maurer came on to give her a rest all the same.
Not long after, Maurer also stopped Nieminen on a breakaway. If that weren’t enough, Laura Zimmermann collided with a Finn at the blue line and fell awkwardly, and didn’t return as well, leaving Muller with just 13 skaters to finish the last half of the game.
The Swiss ran into late penalty trouble and had to play five-on-three for 1:42, and the Finns capitalized. Nelli Laitinen fired a shot from the high slot which was tipped in by Ronja Savolainen to make it a 4-0 game. The third was mostly uneventful, the Finns happy to settle for a comfortbale win, the Swiss wanting to get off the ice with whatever bodies were still healthy. And now they have 48 hours to prepare for a win-or-go-home game on Thursday.