After some upsets and intense overtimes, the bronze medal matchup we are getting this year is a little out of the norm. Czechia and Switzerland will face off, keeping Finland off the podium for the first time in a while.
The Czech team has made huge strides in 2022 alone, appearing in their first Olympics and having their best showing at Worlds, regardless of how this bronze medal game turns out. Prior to this, their best finish was 6th place.
How They Got Here
Czechia has 5-1 so far in this tournament, their only loss was to the US in the semi-final round. Most notably, they beat Finland 2-1, in overtime, just two days ago. Without the game against the Americans, they have outscored their opponents 23-3. The lone goal scored in their last match was by Klara Hymlarova in the second period.
Player To Watch
Hymlarova is certainly a player to watch in this tournament, however I will give the official title to Dominika Laskova who leads the team with seven points while being a defender.
The 25-year-old defender has had a breakout tournament after going scoreless in the Olympics in February and almost doubling her points total from the last World Championship.
Key To Win
It may sound cheesy but I think the Czechs just need to have the heart and grit to push them over the edge and grab a medal. With two unlikely teams meeting for a bronze medal, it means that both teams will be playing with everything they’ve got and with nothing to lose. It may just come down to who wants it more and who can put that into action.
Realistically, they ranked fourth in the power play so far this tournament and third in penalty killing, so getting their special teams to be on their A game will be key for them. That and standing strong in goal for a full sixty minutes. If the Czechs can do all of that, then they may just find themselves on a podium.
For the second year in a row, Switzerland will have the chance to go home with a bronze medal. If they can pull it off, it would be the first time since 2012 that the Swiss finished in the top-3 at worlds.
They’ve earned their place in the top division, and they’re gradually starting to challenge for a place among the Big Three.
How They Got Here
They went 1-3 in the group stage, often putting up a valiant fight against stronger, deeper teams like Canada, Team USA, and Finland. Their only victory in the group stage was against Japan who they beat 3-1.
They met Japan for a second time in the quarterfinal. They took that game 2-1 in a shootout to go straight to the semifinal where they fell to Canada 8-1.
Player to Watch
Sinja Leeman’s name might not be as familiar to women’s hockey fans as Alina Müller’s, but she’s absolutely a player to keep an eye on.
Switzerland has an exciting mix of older, established leaders (like Müller and captain Lara Stalder) and less experienced but still incredibly skilled younger players. Leeman has been a delight to watch all tournament long
Key To Win
Switzerland wins by being Switzerland. Czechia has had an amazing storybook run to the bronze medal game, but the Swiss can’t afford to think about that. To them, this has to be just like any other game.
They’re the better team on paper, but if they’re not better once they hit the ice, none of that’s going to really matter to them.
Switzerland is a team with as much heart and determination as anyone else in this tournament. They’ve got all the pieces, it’s just a matter of putting them together when it counts.