Tour de chapeau for Fillier
by Andrew Podnieks|15 APR 2023
Canada had a tough time getting through Switzerland's defence in today's semi-finals.
photo: Andrea Cardin / IIHF
Sarah Fillier scored three goals--two in the second period to break a scoreless tie through more than half a game--to lead Canada to a 5-1 win over Switzerland this afternoon at CAA Centre. The win takes Canada to the gold-medal game for the expected and thrilling gold-medal game against the United States.

"It was nice to get that first one," Fillier said. "Playing with the lead is a lot more comfortable, and the last two was just a matter of getting pucks on net and being in the right place."

"We just stuck to our game plan," said teammate Natalie Spooner, who chipped in with three assists. "We knew they would come out strong and they have a good goalie, so we wanted to focus on what we do best. Once we scored that first one, it opened up the game and we created a lot more chances."
The result improves Canada's all-time record against the Swiss to 11-0 with a goals differential of 86-3. Shts favoured Canada today, 54-8, including a 29-5 margin in the third period. 

"I haven't had the time to process everything but even though we lost the game, I still feel somewhat satisfied," the Swiss goalie added. "I tried to keep the score 0-0 for as long as I could, and everyone really fought til the end. I'm really proud of them. I'm super happy and pumped for tomorrow."

"She played great," Swiss coach Colin Muller added. "She stopped what she had to. She saw everything very clearly. It's great to have a goalie like Andrea that plays at that level and can rise to the occasion because it sure was helpful tonight."

Canada dominated from start to finish but was frustrated time and again by the goaltending of Andrea Brandli and their own—and rare—inability to finish around the net. Fillier scored her first at 11:06 off a rush by Natalie Spooner. She saw Fillier in the slot and got her the puck, and Fillier snapped a shot post-and-in on the stick side, much to the relief of the pro-Canadian crowd.

Fillier did it again six minutes later, again thanks to Jenner. She came around the goal and tried to jam the puck in, but Brandli was right there. Fillier banged home the rebound, though, to make it 2-0. 

Canada began the game with a bang, and continued to bang and skate and drive to the goal. But despite outshooting the Swiss by a 14-2 margin, teams went to the dressing room not having seen one puck cross the goal line. And that can be explained by the sensational goaltending of Brandli, who made four ridiculous saves—and had a bit of luck.

The first save was in close after Rebecca Johnston whipped a pass from the corner to Brianne Jenner in front. Her quick re-direct looked goal-bound, but Brandli made a crazy left-pad save. Soon after, she whipped out her left hand to glove a hard shot form Erin Ambrose destined for the top corner. 

More? Kristin O’Neill got the puck and had a chance in alone, but her deke didn’t fool Brandli one bit. Then Blayre Turnbull, one of Canada’s best player this tournament so far, stole the puck, went in alone and deked Brandli, only to hit the post.

Johnston did put the puck in the net later in the period, but it was clearly a high-stick tip off a point shot and easily waived off. It wasn’t until a Swiss power play late in the period that they got their first shot, just before the 16-minute mark.

But the big play happened even later when captain Lara Stalder hit Sarah Nurse hard into the boards. The initial call was a two-minute minor, but the refs reviewed the play and upgraded the foul to a five-minute major and game misconduct for hitting from behind. That was a double whammy—being left short-handed for five minutes, and losing their top scorer (ten points) for the rest of the game.

The Swiss killed off the major expertly, though, and were effective in their own end until Fillier got the team going. Canada added a third goal at 3:48 of the third on a power play. After whacking and banging around Brandli, the puck slid behind her, and as it sat on the goal line Jamie Lee Rattray nudged it in. Spooner was credited with her third assist of the night on the goal.

Fillier completed her hat trick at 15:04 when she banged in a rebound, the immediate result of which was a cascade of hats onto the ice as the crowd roared its approval.

Alina Muller broke Ann-Renee Desbiens' bid for a shutout at 17:56 when Canada incurred two minors on the same play and Muller snapped a shot from the slot under the goalie's glove. Johnston added a final goal for Canada with just .8 seconds left to complete the scoring.
Canada vs Switzerland (SF) - 2023 IIHF Women's World Championship