The roster-challenged Swiss will meet Czechia earlier in the day tomorrow for bronze. They played tonight’s game without three players, notably Alina Muller, who tested positive for Covid, as well as two injured teammates, Laura Zimmerman (foot) and Noemi Rhyner (hand) while Lara Stalder returned to the line-up. During the game, they lost another player, key defender Lara Christen, who was hurt in a collision in the second period and didn't return.
"When we face adversity, that's when we come together," suggested Swiss captain Lara Stalder. "We've grown as a family, and that's what keeps us going. We've got to get over this game and recover, and be ready tomorrow. You don't get the chance often to play for a medal. We've got to do everything it takes to win. We'll try to come out like we did today. We were flying for the first 15 minutes; we battled hard. At one point maybe when you're down seven goals, the legs get a little heavy."
Canada outshot the Swiss, 56-6, Ann-Renee Desbiens recording the easy shutout while Saskai Maurer was peppered with many tough shots among the onslaught.
Some 12 Canadians recorded a point, led by captain Marie-Philip Poulin, who had two goals and an assist, and Sarah Fillier who had one goal and a pair of helpers. Coach Troy Ryan was democratic in halding out ice time, all 19 players skating for at least eleven minutes.
"I thought we were very good tonight, probably the most complete game we've played so far," said Sarah Nurse, one of Canada's scorers. "We definitely needed that. It came at the right time and gives us momentum heading to the gold-medal game. We really challenged ourselves to get to the gritty areas and be strong on our sticks. Again, we look to carry that into tomorrow."
Many of Canada's goals came on jams, wraparounds, and goa-mouth scrambles. Not pretty, but very effective. "I think if we continue to get gritty and dirty in front of the net it will be important for us tomorrow," Poulin suggested.
Ella Shelton opened the scoring at 13:37 when her simple wrister from the side boards somehow found an opening between Maurer’s glove and the post. It’s a shot the goalie would love to have back. Then, off the ensuing faceoff, Canada got the puck deep and Emma Maltais spotted Jessie Eldridge in the slot. The rookie fired it in for her first goal of the tournament.
A scary moment occurred soon after. Emily Clark drove hard to the net, and as she sped through the crease she fell awkwardly, her skate clipping Maurer on the top of the head. After receiving some attention she continued, lucky not to have sustained a more serious injury.
Canada doubled its lead early in the second on two similar goals of the greasy variety. First, Jocelyne Larocque cut hard to the goal, and when the puck squirted free, Brianne Jenner was there to backhand it in at 3:00. Four and a half minutes later, Clark again tried to cut in front and jam the puck in. Again, Maurer protected the post, but the puck came right to Sarah Fillier, and she poked it home.
Midway through the period, another scary moment for a Swiss team riddled by injury problems. Playing short-handed, Stalder stole the puck and dashed up the ice on a breakaway. Fillier tracked her down and swiped the puck away with a beautiful play, but she tripped Stalder in the process and they both fell heavily into the boards. Fillier got up quickly but Stalder was a bit shaken up and took a few moments longer.
Nonetheless, Fillier went to the box and was followed soon after by Larocque, and Stalder made Canada pay on the ensuing two-player advantage. She fed a great pass to Lara Christen on the back side, and Christen one-timed it in to make it a 4-1 game. It was Switzerland's first power-play goal fo the tournament after going 0-for-20.
Later in the period, though, Christen went down in her own end after a collision with Renata Fast and left the game, yet another injury to the hard-luck team.
Canada padded its totals with three more goals early in the third, all from close-in. Poulin converted a nice pass from Fast at 1:17, and she jammed in another from the crease four minutes later. In between, Nurse got her second of the tournament when she, too, jammed a puck in from close range on a power play. That goal also snapped a slump for Canada, which had failed to score on its previous eleven opportunities.
Riffing on a theme, Clark scored on a wraparound at 14:13, adding to the Canadian tally of goals scored from the immediate area around the blue ice of the Swiss cage.