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Pyeongchang 2018: Sweden wins 7th place, Switzerland takes 5th

Sweden overwhelms Korea and Evelina Raselli is the hero for the Swiss.

Evelina Raselli #14 of Switzerland shoots and scores against Nana Fujimoto #1 of Japan 
Evelina Raselli #14 of Switzerland shoots and scores against Nana Fujimoto #1 of Japan 
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Sweden vs Korea 6-1

It was inevitable that throughout the tournament our work schedules and need for sleep were going to necessitate missing a game and it was the game for seventh place.

Minatsu Murase started in net for Sweden, with Shin So Jung at the other end for Korea.

First period

Sweden took a couple of penalties early, one on Johanna Fallman for interference and one jut over a minute later on Murase for hooking. Korea wasn’t able to capitalize on their 50 seconds of 5 on 3.

Sweden was the first to score, a goal by Sabina Kuller set up by Fanny Rask and Erica Uden Johansson.

Fallman headed to the box less than twenty seconds later on an elbowing call and Korea scored on the power play. Han Soojin from captain Park Jongah.

The score stayed tied for a full thirteen minutes, until Kim Un Hyang was sent off for holding, leading to a power play goal for Emmy Alasalmi, assisted by Maja Nylén Persson and Anna Borqvist.

Second period

Minatsu Murase left the game 1:11 into the second period. Sarah Berglind came in as backup.

Randi Griffin had the only penalty of the period, a holding call just over two minutes in. Sweden was unable to score on the advantage.

The only goal of the period came from Erika Grahm, assisted by Fanny Rask and Emma Nordin.

Third period

Not a single penalty this period, but three Swedish goals.

Annie Svedin from Lisa Johansson and Sara Hjalmarsson, three minutes into the period.

Fanny Rask capped off her three-point game with the game’s fifth goal, assisted by Maria Lindh.

Shin So Jung was pulled with just under three minutes left in the game and replaced by Han Dohee. Han let in the final goal of the game just 18 seconds after she took the net, this one to Lisa Johansson with assists from Anna Borgqvist and Sara Hjalmarsson.

Sweden outshot Korea 40-16.

So ends the tenure of Leif Boork. Seventh place finish with his number one goaltender not even dressed for the final game. Good riddance, and may the Swedish program look much improved next season under Ylva Martinsen.

The chances Korea was going win a game this Olympics were slim. That they pulled off two goals against much better competition is definitely a good sign. Hopefully North Korea won’t use the women’s hockey tournament as an excuse for something.

South Korea won’t be facing anyone nearly as good in Italy in April (apologies to Division IB but they know it’s true), so who knows where they end up at the end of the season. If the country continues to support their national team there’s a chance they could maybe even qualify for Beijing in four years.

Anna Borgqvist #18 of Sweden gets tangled with Chung Gum Hwang #39 and So Jung Shin #31 of Korea  Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Switzerland vs Japan

Goalies for the day are Florence Schelling and Nana Fujimoto. No surprises, everyone’s pulling out all the stops today.

First period

Fast start, Switzerland knows what their strength is. Play goes up and down the ice, Switzerland had Japan pinned down early but that didn’t last long.

A series of zone entries by Japan is followed by a breakout pass to Evelina Raselli, who goes one on one with Fujimoto and beats her with apparent ease. 1-0 Switzerland.

First power play goes to Switzerland, as Aina Takeuchi is sent off for holding. The Swiss power play doesn’t look all that organized. It’s been said that their strategy is “get it to Stalder” and that doesn’t work so well when Lara Stalder is sent off for interference halfway through.

Japan gets their first real chance on the 4 on 4, a shot by Haruna Yoneyama.

Halfway through the period, Japan’s getting most of the zone time and Switzerland’s getting the more dangerous opportunities. Swiss lack of defence vs Japanese lack of offence.

Japan looks more organized, is stealing the puck more, keeping their passes short. Switzerland has the better players, but Japan looks like the better team. When they do manage to get in on Schelling, they make a nuisance of themselves, banging away at the side of the net and creating traffic when the puck gets back to the point.

As the period winds down, Switzerland gets a series of shots on Fujimoto from a distance.

One Swiss opportunity is foiled by an early whistle as the official loses sight of the puck but Fujimoto doesn’t actually have it.

Japan comes back into the Swiss zone with numbers. Schelling’s allowing rebounds, they’re getting a couple of chances whenever they get to her. Very little that looks dangerous but all it takes is one mistake.

Fujimoto comes out of her net in the final minute to pounce on a loose puck that’s being chased in by a Swiss player. Switzerland ends the period in the Japanese zone, chasing the puck behind Japan’s net.

Shots on the period were 10-7 for Japan. Both teams are going to need to step it up if they want to win.

Second period

Switzerland comes out with some urgency but they still can’t keep the puck in Japan’s zone. They try to get set up a second time and 8 can’t control the puck. It goes offside and they have to come out.

Japan is keeping two or three players in front of their own net whenever possible. Phoebe Staenz gets a shot through the traffic but Shin stops that.

A Swiss player comes into the Japanese zone while her teammates are on a change but she basically gets swarmed and can’t get much done.

Sena Suzuki seems to have the unenviable assignment of covering Lara Stalder, I’ve seen them battling a few times. One such time has them colliding and taking out an official, but nothing gets called.

Swiss are called for what I think is the first icing of the game.

Switzerland briefly gets set up in the Japanese zone but Japan is having none of it and harries them out again. The next attempt gets Nina Waidacher sent to the box for tripping.

Switzerland gets the puck out a few times but Japan does manage to get a few shots in. No shorthanded chances for Switzerland but the penalty expires with the puck in Japan’s zone.

Naho Tereshima is next in the box for a high stick off a faceoff. Phoebe Staenz gets an opportunity but fans on the shot. The penalty expires without a single shot reaching Fujimoto.

Play stays in Japan’s zone for a while at even strength.

Schelling has come well out of her net to play the puck a couple of times, that’s a tendency that might get her in trouble. She’s only had two official shots to deal with so far this period but that’s one more than Fujimoto.

Japan gets a three on two but it’s broken up by the Swiss before they can cause any trouble.

Switzerland’s definitely getting more zone time and it all looks very dangerous but with less than five minutes to go, they still only have the one shot on goal.

Scramble at the net in front of Schelling. The puck stays out but Japan stays in the zone and draws another penalty. Sabrina Zollinger goes off for a cross-check to the back of a Japanese player.

Japan can’t get anything going on the power play. Switzerland chases them down into their own zone and then they’re called offside as they’re trying to get set up. Another opportunity sees a Japanese player fan on her shot and the puck comes back out. They do manage to get some pressure on Schelling at the end of the power play.

Suzuki sends a shot on net from the point that Schelling handles. The puck comes back to her for a second try but the horn goes before she can do anything.

Shots this period were 7-1 for Japan. Not much in the way of high quality scoring chances.

Third period

Switzerland kept play in the Japanese zone for most of the first two minutes, but the first shot of the period went to Japan. Schelling made a nice glove save.

Miko Shishiuchi got in one on one but couldn’t beat the Swiss defender.

Every time I want to write that Switzerland is camping out in Japan’s zone the puck comes out for at least a little while.

For a moment it looks like Stalder has put the Swiss up 2-0 but there’s a Waidacher (Isabel, this time) sprawled all over the blue paint and you can’t do that.

Staenz gets an opportunity on net but hits the post.

Switzerland is pushing hard for that second goal (they’re ahead on the shot clock for once) but Fujimoto is there and her defenders are great at collecting rebounds.

The puck makes its way down to Schelling again and she stops play.

Little bit of shoving at the net after a Sara Benz shot on Fujimoto.

Half a period left and Japan only has one shot on goal. They’ve finished sixth before but there were only six teams in Nagano so it would still be an improvement, and keeping the offensive-minded Swiss to fewer than 20 shots is impressive, but I want to see a goal for them.

A long shot on Schelling from outside the blueline gets Japan an offensive zone faceoff. They can’t do much with it and Switzerland gets the puck out.

Stalder tries to get a shot on Fujimoto but she’s battling with a defender the whole way.

Another Swiss shot attempt ends up on a Japanese stick and the puck comes out again.

Three minutes left and with every entry into the Swiss zone I wonder if this is when Fujimoto gets pulled.

Scramble in front of Schelling gets the crowd excited but she hangs onto the puck. Fujimoto goes to the bench during the stoppage. Now or never for Japan. There’s just over two minutes left.

The puck ends up in the Japanese zone but Toko grabs the puck and eventually gets it out again.

Switzerland gets a shot from their own zone but another Japanese defender is there. No empty net goal for the Swiss, but no more chances for Japan. Florence Schelling has a 20 save shutout, while Fujimoto saved 13 of 14 shots.

It all came down to one breakaway. No points for the tournament’s leading scorer. Japan couldn’t pull off a last upset, but they should be very proud of their Olympics. The 2019 World Championships in Finland are going to be interesting.

The Swiss might be disappointed with fifth but considering they staved off relegation by the skin of their teeth in 2017 and just barely qualified for this Olympics, this is a step in the right direction for them.