USA beats Switzerland, 9-0
The United States steamrolled Switzerland 9-0 in their penultimate preliminary round game. The American power through the centre of the ice allowed them to dominate all aspects of play for 60 minutes.
In the first, the United States scored three times. Abby Roque, who has been due some glory on the international stage for quite some time, opened the scoring. Hannah Bilka and Taylor Heise quickly scored goals to increase the lead. Adding insult to injury, Heise threw another puck into the crease, where it bounced off a skate into the net. It marked her second of the period, and the Americans led by four after one.
Although neither resulted in a goal, the two Swiss penalties in the first were critical failings. The American powerplay is strong and patient. It pinned the Swiss in their zone for four minutes of the period allowing the USA to stay fresh. Quick passing and skating ran the valiant Swiss skaters ragged. Once they were able to start looking for offence, their best players were exhausted.
Saskia Maurer came into the Swiss net to start the second period. With Switzerland set to play Finland the next night, keeping starting goaltender Andrea Brändli fresh is vital. The onslaught of shots is not what she needed tonight.
As we have seen before, clever Swiss positioning and tactic abled them to contain a powerful offence. The Americans were more challenged to bring the puck into the Swiss zone cleanly. As a result, they only totalled 12 shots in the period. Though Switzerland adjusted to the American play, their tired legs couldn’t carry them past the American defences. Switzerland had a game-high two shots in the period.
Hilary knight scored the only goal of the period on another American powerplay. The US cycled the puck around the ice far from the reach of Swiss sticks until an opening in the slot came available. The puck arrived to Knight, who buried it with little thought.
Savannah Harmon went bar down to put herself on the score sheet before Hillary knight muscled another puck into the net a minute later. This goal added another to Knight’s growing career point total putting her in the second all-time spot for points at the women’s world championships.
The American intensity continued, and Switzerland took more physical penalties as they struggled to keep up. Cayla Barnes scored a powerplay goal before 16 seconds later, a ninth closed out that match. Both were floating shots from up high that deflected around in front of Mauer.
The play of the Swiss was still reminiscent of their tournament so far – a cohesive unit with intelligent tactics. They adjusted brilliantly after a difficult first period. Unfortunately for them, the US power was too great, and even well-drilled teams will tire and take bad teams against opponents like the relentless Americans. The USA is the pinacol of what countries like Switzerland could become with the same level of centralization and funding. They are quick passers, brilliant playmakers, and unrelenting in their attack of the puck.
USA: Roque, Bilka, Heise (2), Knight (2), Harmon, Barnes, Zumwinkle
Finland beat Japan, 9-3
Finland: Sofianna Sundelin, Susanna Tapani, Viivi Vainikka, Elisa Holopainen, Vainikka, Petra Nieminen, Nelli Laitinen, Holopainen, Sini Karjalainen,
Japan: Akane Shiga, Shiga, Aoi Shiga
Czechia beat Germany, 6-0
Czechia: Adela Sapovalivova, Natalie Mlynkova, Alena Mills, Noemi Neubaurerova, Agata Sarnovska, Klara Hymlarova
Sweden beat Hungary, 3-2 in a shootout
Sweden: Mira Jungakar, Maja Nylen Persson, Hanna Olsson (shootout)
Hungary: Emma Kreisz, Franciska Kiss-Simon