BEIJING 2022: Canadians clobbers Swiss in Olympic semi; earn coveted spot in Olympic gold medal game
BEIJING, China - It was an exciting, but not unexpected outcome, in semifinal action between Canada and Switzerland at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, on what was late Sunday night on this side of the world. The Canadians easily outpaced and outskated the Swiss in an action-packed game that led to the red and white earning a 10-3 win and their well-earned spot back into the gold medal game on the world's biggest stage for women's hockey.
For Team Canada, the points were racked up in part by Captain Marie Philip-Poulin of Beauceville, Que., who notched two goals, and Sarah Nurse of Hamilton, Ont., who garnered four helpers.
For Switzerland's part, Lara Stalder scored an impressive two goals, one helped out by a blunder by Canada’s own Blayre Turnbull of Stellarton, N.S. This semifinal opened quickly for the Canadians, with rapid-fire, back-to-back goals from Claire Thompson, Jamie Lee Rattray, Turnbull, Renata Fast, and Erin Ambrose. These first five goals were all scored within an impressive time of 3:24, making them the fastest first five goals in Olympic history.
Four goals into this rapid shooting, Switzerland decided it was time to switch up in net, exchanging Andrea Brändli in for Saskia Maurer, giving the Swiss hope for a better end to the first period. But Team Canada’s domination of the game continued with that last goal on the period from Ambrose, assisted by Mélodie Daoust and Sarah Fillier.
Not soon after, Turnbull ended up in the box for two minutes for slashing, giving the Swiss a chance to redeem themselves. Canada’s Micah Zandee-Hart followed suit with two minutes for high-sticking, and this time Switzerland’s Lara Stalder was able to capitalize with a goal on Ann-Renée Desbiens, assisted by Alina Müller, ending the first period with Canada up 5-1 headed into intermission.
The second frame opened with another Swiss goal from powerhouse pair Alina Müller, assisted by Lara Stalder, which prompted a retaliatory goal from "Captain Clutch" Marie Philip-Poulin, assisted by Nurse and Brianne Jenner. A minute later, Emily Clark would get on the scoreboard with a goal assisted by Rebecca Johnston and Turnbull.
Shortly thereafter, the action continued with yet another powerplay for the Swiss, due to a two-minute minor for tripping handed to Canadian forward Laura Stacey. Swiss forward Lara Stalder
didn't let this chance go to waste, scoring another powerplay goal for Switzerland. Yet Poulin repeated her offensive retaliation with a beauty backhander assisted by Thompson and Ambrose.
It would be Stalder, five minutes after, who would end the second period with two minutes in the box for an illegal hit, giving Canada its first powerplay of the game to start the third. Emma Maltais of Switzerland profited off the Canadian penalty, scoring her first-ever Olympic goal, assisted by Stacey and Jillian Saulnier, giving Canada a solid 9-3 late in the game.
Canada's Renata Fast later got called for hooking, but Canada fought through and avoided a shorthanded goal. Coming out of the four-on-five, the Canadians carried the puck quickly down the ice for a tenth and final goal, this one from Brianne Jenner with help from Sarah Nurse, with only 1:49 remaining on the clock.
Switzerland’s Laura Zimmerman made a desperate slash in the final minute and gave Canada their last powerplay to run down the rest of the clock, securing Canada's massive semifinal win and its coveted spot back in Olympic gold medal territory, where the red and white hope to face off against the defending champions who wear the stars and stripes.
The Swiss will team off against Finland for the bronze medal at 6:30 a.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, Feb. 16, while Canada will likely have to stave off their long-time rival the United States for the coveted gold medal this Thursday, Feb. 17 at 11:10 p.m. Eastern Time, assuming the Americans top the Finns in semifinal action.