2024 Worlds Recap: Braendli, Svensson, Edwards All Shine in Second Games

It's a full slate of standouts as Day 3 wraps in Utica.

2024 Worlds Recap: Braendli, Svensson, Edwards All Shine in Second Games
Renata Fast with the puck against Sinja Leemann of Switzerland during their match Friday. (Photo featured @HockeyCanada on X/formerly Twitter)

If you haven't slow clapped at least once for Andrea Braendli throughout her minutes so far in this tournament, you haven't truly appreciated her.

Fresh off of a stellar season with MoDo in the SDHL (.937, 2 SO), the top Swiss netminder has faced a combined 99 shots on goal through two games. After a 51-save performance against the United States, Braendli then followed up with a 42-save effort against Canada, faltering just twice against Emma Maltais and Sarah Nurse.

However, that was all the Canadians needed for their 13th win against Switzerland, as they were able to score those and then an empty-netter by Sarah Fillier to preserve the win, 3-0. Despite a slew of penalties, Canada was able to remain perfect, while the Swiss still have yet to score a goal this tournament.

The Canadians, who are 2-0 to start Worlds, excelled at pretty much their exact game plan – basically, strong forechecking and puck movement on the offensive side, while absolutely smothering their opponents defensively and giving no quarter. The Swiss tallied just 17 shots on goal, many of their best chances coming at the tail end of regulation. While they certainly tried their best to gain the neutral zone, the attempts would usually be cut off right at the Canadian blueline, either bodily or by a well-timed stick knocking the play off course.

While offense remains a mystery for Switzerland, they can rest assured they have an incredible defensive asset in Braendli. Her quickness, athleticism, and ability to track the puck are elite, and though she may have wanted a couple of rebounds back, she by and large was smart with how she directed the puck away from herself. She was the key to keeping Switzerland in this game for as long as they were, with so many chances for Canada being in tight on her.

It's a very tough break for a team that drew the top countries in their group back-to-back to start this tournament, but the good news is that there are some key young pieces to this offense, like Laura Zimmerman (who was awarded Swiss Player of the Game) and Ivana Wey, who are stepping up, trying to get pucks moving in the right direction, and who I think could definitely do some damage against less physical teams in the rest of their group.

Other Scores:

SWE 8, CHN 1

SWE goals: Hilda Svensson (2), Lina Ljungblom, Felizia Wikner Zienkiewicz, Sofie Lundin, Josefin Bouveng, Hanna Olsson, Sara Hjalmarsson

CHN goal: Kong Minghui

2023's leading goal scorer for Sweden, Svensson, had a quieter first game, with just one assist. But today, she busted loose, with two goals a couple of minutes apart in the first period and a secondary assist on Hanna Olsson's goal. Svensson deployed her killer shot first at even-strength, gaining center ice off a bad line change by China. Then she scored on the power play, as a sliding defender gave her all the space she needed on a pass from the point by Maja Nylen Persson.

Belabored Chinese goalies Zhan Jiahui and Wang Yuqing had no breaks for a good chunk of the game, as Sweden led 23-0 in shots at one point. Each allowed four goals, Zhan starting the game and Wang coming in relief at the top of the second period.

USA 6, CZE 0

USA goals: Alex Carpenter (3), Laila Edwards (2), Taylor Heise

While I'd be remiss to overlook the dominant performance by PWHL New York/Team USA alternate captain Carpenter, I really loved that Laila Edwards is finally getting her flowers. Not only has she been such a great offensive presence for Wisconsin, but she got to display on an international stage her ability to absolutely snipe.

Lydia will have more on this matchup in particular, so I won't comment much further except to say this: the one thing I think could bite Team USA in the ass, much like Canada, is their penchant for stupid penalties like the one Kirsten Simms took late in the third by cross-checking Karolina Kosinova from behind while the U.S. was already skating away with the game. I'd imagine there will, or at least there should, be a review as to whether Simms will sit for a game based on that hit.