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2018 Olympic Preview: Team Switzerland

Can Switzerland find a way to medal again?

Michelle Jay

Background

Switzerland’s women’s national team won bronze at Sochi, but have struggled in major tournaments since then. The IIHF ranked the Swiss sixth in the world in 2017, behind Sweden but ahead of Germany.

The Swiss are one of the most interesting teams in the tournament. In many ways they are something of a wild card. On paper, the Swiss appear to lack depth, but excellent goaltending and team speed make them a force to be reckoned with. Also, be sure to keep an eye on where the Swiss take their shots on the power play. They only have two right-handed skaters on the Olympic roster.

Ice Hockey - Winter Olympics Day 13 - Switzerland v Sweden Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Top Players

Florence Schelling

Schelling is 28-years-old but is already a legend of Swiss women’s hockey. In Sochi she was selected as the best goaltender by both the media and the tournament directorate. If Switzerland finds a way to win its second Olympic medal, Schelling will undoubtedly be the reason why.

This season Schelling has posted a .944 save percentage with her professional team Linköping HC in the SDHL. She’s also been rock solid in recent international tournaments. It’s safe to say that Schelling is on top of her game heading into her fourth Olympics.

Lara Stalder

Stalder was just 19-years-old when she scored her first Olympic goal in the Sochi Games. Today the former UMD Bulldog star is Switzerland’s most dangerous skater. Stalder is the player that opposing teams know they need to shut down; she’s the spearhead of the Swiss offense.

Stalder scored eight goals and picked up four assists in Switzerland’s three Olympic Qualifying Games. She also led the national team in scoring at the 2017 Women’s World Championships and is currently tied for the SDHL scoring lead with Finland’s Michelle Karvinen.

OLY-2014-IHOCKEY-SUI-SWE-WOMEN Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images

Christine Meier

Meier is the only returning captain from Switzerland’s 2014 Sochi roster. She is also one of the most versatile and experienced players on the national team. Meier can play both forward and defense but is a mainstay on the blue line with Team Switzerland. She is undoubtedly the team’s most dangerous offensive defender and she has the numbers to prove it.

Watch for Meier to make an impact on the power play and in the transition game.

Alina Müller

Müller has yet to play NCAA hockey (she’s committed to Northeastern University) and is the youngest player on Switzerland’s Olympic roster. This will be Müller’s second Olympics because she made the Swiss national team at 15-years-old in Sochi. She is the youngest ice hockey player to ever win an Olympic medal. Yes, you read that right.

In the 2017 Women’s World Championships and the Olympic Game Qualifiers, only Stalder scored more points than Müller for Switzerland. The young center has scored a staggering 57 points in 17 games in the Swiss League this year playing for ZSC Lions Frauen. She is a superstar waiting for her big stage.

Sweden vs. Switzerland Women's Ice Hockey Harry E. Walker/MCT via Getty Images

Dark Horse

Lisa Rüedi

Rüedi is the youngest forward on the Swiss team this Olympics. The 17-year-old is coming off of an exceptional performance at the 2018 U18 Women’s World Championship. Rüedi scored five goals in a span of two games to save Switzerland from relegation and finished the tournament with a team-leading 11 points. She also put up seven points, including four goals, in six games in the Swiss League this season.

Schedule

Switzerland is playing in Group B with Sweden, Japan, and Korea.

  • February 10, Switzerland v. Korea @ 7:10 a.m. ET
  • February 12, Switzerland v. Japan @ 2:40 a.m. ET
  • February 14, Sweden v. Switzerland @ 10:10 a.m. ET

Prediction

The Swiss have the talent to play their way into a medal game, but that will be no small task. Remember, Switzerland has finished in sixth or seventh in the last three World Championships. It’s been a long time since the magic of Sochi.

Finland is the favorite to win bronze, but Switzerland has a real chance to upset the Olympic athletes with Schelling between the pipes. With that being said, the Swiss will likely finish somewhere around fifth. Switzerland’s lack of depth is a big problem, but it is getting better thanks to the generation led by Müller and Rüedi.