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Espoo 2019 Day two: History and heartbreak

France and Switzerland each score their first goal of the tournament.

Janine Alder #1 of Switzerland kneels on the ice with her mask raised.
Forty-one saves by Janine Alder wasn’t enough to beat the Russians.
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Only two games were on the docket for day two, one per group. Russia and the Czech Republic both saw their first action of the tournament and the results were not particularly surprising.

Group A

TEAM GP PTS W OTW OTL L GF GA GD
TEAM GP PTS W OTW OTL L GF GA GD
CAN 1 3 1 0 0 0 6 0 6
USA 1 3 1 0 0 0 6 2 4
RUS 1 3 1 0 0 0 2 1 1
FIN 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 6 -4
SUI 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 8 -7

Group B

TEAM GP PTS W OTW OTL L GF GA GD
TEAM GP PTS W OTW OTL L GF GA GD
JPN 1 3 1 0 0 0 3 0 3
CZE 1 3 1 0 0 0 3 1 2
GER 1 2 0 1 0 0 2 1 1
SWE 1 1 0 0 1 1 2 -1
FRA 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 6 -5

Czech Republic 3 v France 1

This game wasn’t aired (fortunately there’s only one more game that we don’t think we’ll have access to) so this is a quick summary.

As expected, Caroline Baldin got her second consecutive start of the tournament for France while Klára Peslarová took the net for the Czech Republic.

The French got into penalty trouble early with a too many players call less than two minutes into the game. That had barely been killed off when Emanuelle Passard was called for slashing.

The Czech squad took advantage of their second power play to score their first goal. Connecticut Whale forward Kateřina Mrázová paired up with fellow NWHL player Denisa Křížová of the Boston Pride to put their team up 1-0.

Betty Jouanny was the next French player to head to the box, again on a slashing call. This time it was Klára Hymlárová who scored, assisted by captain Alena Mills and defender Aneta Tejralová.

Aneta Lédlová started off the second period with the first even-strength goal of the game, making it 3-0. University of Maine star Tereza Vanišová got the assist.

The French parade to the penalty box continued, this time a holding call on Alexandra Harrison, but Team France managed to kill it off without incident.

The third period was just thirteen seconds old when Gwendoline Gendarme was called for hooking. By this point I assume what was happening was that the Czech team was too fast for the French to catch up and they didn’t have to bother with any penalties of their own. The French survived the penalty kill and kept trying for their first goal of the tournament.

Of course, after I wrote that Simona Studentová laid a hit and France got their first power play of the game with 8:04 left in the game. They made good use of it, too.

Emmanuelle Passard earned her place in French hockey history, becoming the first French woman to score a goal at a Top Division World Championships. Assists went to Estelle Duvin and French captain Marion Allémoz. It was a banner moment for the Université de Montréal Carabins as Passard and Duvin are current players and Allémoz (who is also a former Canadienne) is an alumna.

French forward Lara Escudero was called for slashing a minute after the goal. France must have been pressing something fierce because not only did they kill off the penalty but the Czechs called their time out with 2:20 left.

The French called a time out of their own with 16 seconds on the clock but couldn’t find any miracles. Their first win of the tournament is still to come.

Shots on goal were 40 to 16 in favour of the Czechs, although things evened out in the third, when it was just 13 to 11.

Aneta Lédlová of the Czech Republic and Estelle Duvin of France were named players of the game.

Russia 2 v Switzerland 1

Russia took the ice for their first game, giving Nadezhda Morozova the start against Switzerland. The Swiss, who were still missing star forward Lara Stalder, countered by giving Janine Alder her first start of the tournament.

The first period got off to a fast start for the Russians, with Alder under pressure more or less immediately. We saw a lot of stick battles but the Swiss weren’t getting past the neutral zone.

Alexandra Vafina kindly gave the Swiss their first real offensive zone time six and a half minutes in by earning herself a tripping call and activating the Swiss power play. There was a lot of passing and the Russians cleared the puck a couple of times, but Switzerland did get a shot off at last.

Back at even strength the taste of the offensive zone seemed to have helped the Swiss a little as they did manage to get back there a couple of times.

Meanwhile at the other end of the ice, Alder had no intention of letting the Russians score on her, no matter where they were shooting from. After yesterday’s round of wildly blocking Canadian shots Team Switzerland seemed to have lost their taste for it, leaving Alder to deal with a lot of shots right in front.

The Russians started to get themselves in trouble in the second half of the period as not only did Maria Batalova sit for tripping, but seconds later Anna Savonina joined her in the box after flipping the puck over the glass. This gave the Swiss almost 1:45 of 5 on 3, and they took full advantage.

One tic-tac-toe passing play and Evellina Raselli had scored her first of the tournament, with over a minute remaining in the second penalty. Rahel Enzler and Alina Mueller (because of course Alina Mueller) got the assists.

Olga Bratisheva was whistled for slashing, creating another 5 on 3 for Switzerland and compounding Russia’s problems.

With one penalty killed off, teenage rookie defender Anna Savovina made a break for the Swiss goal shorthanded but she was hauled down by Sara Foster as she went to shoot, which landed Foster in the box and gave us some 4 on 4 before a short Russian power play.

That power play had just barely expired when Phoebe Staenz was called for holding. The longer power play was just what Team Russia needed. With only a few seconds left on the advantage, Olga Sosina sent a beautiful pass cross-ice to Anna Timofeyeva who didn’t hesitate to fire a gorgeous wrister past Alder. 1-1 with ten seconds left in the period.

The second saw the Swiss get off to a better start, buzzing around the Russian zone. The Russians countered with a couple of good chances from Sosina and Tereshkina.

Alina Mueller had a definite moment of “I am going to do everything myself” but she was foiled by a Russian defender.

In the Swiss net, Janine Alder continued calmly making glove saves as if to say, “I could do this all day, who needs a defence in front?”

Sosina and Mueller collided mid-ice and Mueller went spinning but no whistles went.

Lisa Rüedi called for hooking with less than three minutes left. Russia couldn’t make anything happen against Alder but they got some very pretty shots off.

Even after a much more balanced period, Russia looked like the better team. If nothing else they looked like a team, whereas Switzerland looked like Alina Mueller, Phoebe Staenz and some assorted individuals, many of whom had even less concern for the concept of defence than the Russians, who are known more for their aggressive forecheck than anything in the defensive zone.

Russia continued to look good early in the third, and a power play donated by the Swiss about 3 minutes in (Dominique Rüegg, cross-checking) didn’t hurt. Alder saw shot after shot and continued to react like it was some sort of relaxing walk on the beach.

Russian frustration led to a Swiss power play, as Kadirova went off for interference. I’m not sure Morozova knew there was a power play, she certainly wasn’t seeing much extra traffic. Switzerland continued to look disorganized and easily countered by Team Russia and their aggressive style.

Another power play for Switzerland that didn’t look much like a power play and was easily killed off. Meanwhile the shots against Alder climbed past 30. At this point it looked like no matter who scored next, the goal wasn’t going to be pretty.

The clock kept ticking down, players kept skating around the Swiss and neutral zones, Alder kept making saves... Morozova could have been knitting for all I saw her.

Under 2:30 left and Noemi Rhyner went off for a bodycheck. The Russians called their time out to plan their shooting gallery... I mean power play. After a quick barrage of shots the Russians tried cycling the puck more to pick their spots. The movement earned them some 5 on 3 time as Livia Altmann was called for hooking.

Switzerland managed to clear the puck for a moment and it looked like they might survive to overtime, but Olga Sosina had other plans. She sent a shot past half a dozen skaters and popped the water bottle, giving Russia their first lead with under 30 seconds left in the game. Anna Shibanova and Nina Pirogova got the assists, and we reached our 2-1 final score.

Janine Alder made 41 saves, giving her team every chance to win the game and they just never managed to get their act together. Switzerland landed a total of three shots on goal in the third period. Both teams need to stay out of the penalty box if they want to win games.

Nadezda Morozova was named player of the game for the Russians on the strength of her 10 saves, and lone goal scorer Evelina Raselli was player of the game for Switzerland. I would have given it to Sosina and Alder, myself but coaches are weird.

Tomorrow it’s back to a full slate of action as Sweden faces the Czech Republic, Russia meets Finland, Japan faces Germany and, oh right... Canada vs USA, 12:30 pm EDT.