Here we go. It’s Canada vs Switzerland in the semifinals. We all know who the favorites are to win this one after the 12-1 final in their meeting in the group stage but don’t forget how much talent is on Team Switzerland. The Swiss boast some of the top players in the world. Their problem is that Canada has more of the top players in the world.
Canada out-shot Switzerland 70-15 in the group stage on their way to scoring a dozen goals. Chances are, the Swiss have learned a lot from that first game of the tournament. This one should be a closer game but it is already must-watch hockey because these teams are playing for a guaranteed medal finish at this stage. The winner will be going home with at least silver. The loser plays for bronze against the loser of Team USA and Finland.
How to Watch
- U.S. viewers: 11:10 p.m. ET on Peacock, NBCOlympics.com, USA Network
- Canadian viewers: 11:10 p.m. ET on CBC | Stream: CBC.ca/
What to Watch For
- Faceoffs — in addition to all the other things she does so well, Alina Müller has also been dominant on faceoffs in this tournament. She is 63.33% on draws thus far but will be going up against a team that has many of the best centers on the planet, including Marie-Philip Poulin who is 62.12% on faceoffs so far. We all know the Swiss will be chasing the puck this game, so don’t rule out how important the battle on the dot will be, especially in Canada’s defensive zone.
- On Brändli — to put it bluntly, Andrea Brändli needs to have the game of her life for the Swiss to pull off an upset here. Thus far, she’s been good (.885 Sv%) for Team Switzerland playing tough Group A teams but good will not cut it in this game. The Swiss will need Brändli to bring her best if they want to shock the world and guarantee a medal finish.
- Crazy Eights — Sarah Fillier and Brianne Jenner enter this game with 8 goals each for Canada. No player has ever finished an Olympics with 10 or more goals. Will Fillier, the kid, or Jenner, the savvy vet, get there? The last time these two teams met, Fillier had two goals in the first period. /
Who to Watch
Stalder is always a player to watch — she is one of the best forwards in the world. Stalder has six points in 5 GP in this tournament and scored the lone Swiss goal in the group stage contest between Team Switzerland and Team Canada. She’s third among Swiss skaters in average ice time (20:30) and is third on the team in iSOG (16).
Keep an eye on Stalder if/whenever Switzerland goes on the power play. She is the player they want making decisions with the puck and trying to set up Müller. As every team in the SDHL knows all too well, she can also bury it herself.
Fillier is absolutely on fire right now. Natalie Spooner is leading Team Canada and the tournament in scoring with 13 points, but all the buzz is around the 21-year-old Fillier who has 8 goals and 2 assists in her first Olympic appearance. She’s also averaging 5.0 SOG/GP with just 14:17 TOI/GP. Those are gaudy numbers. She is one of the reasons why Canada has looked unbeatable thus far.
Right now, Fillier is one of the most dangerous players on the planet when the puck touches her stick. She is becoming a superstar before our eyes in Beijing.
Data courtesy of EliteProspects.com and the IIHF.