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Lara Stalder and Switzerland put up fight in semifinal, Canada advances to gold medal game

Is Stalder a Canada killer?

IHOCKEY-OLY-2022-BEIJING-CAN-SUI
Switzerland’s Alina Mueller (L) celebrates with Switzerland’s Lara Stalder after scoring her team’s second goal during the women’s play-offs semifinal match of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games ice hockey competition between Canada and Switzerland, at the Wukesong Sports Centre in Beijing on February 14, 2022.
Photo by ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images

Canada beat the Swiss 10-3 on Sunday night to move on to the gold medal game at the 2022 Olympics, while Team Switzerland will play for Bronze, leaving the tournament with their heads high without a doubt. Switzerland is the only team in the tournament so far to score three goals in a game on Canada, not even the USA could do it in the group stage. Captain Lara Stalder scored twice, and assisted on fellow superstar Alina Müller’s fourth goal of the tournament.

For Canada, Marie Philip Poulin scored twice, showing that she’s ready to go ahead of the final game. Canada had eight other goal-scorers, including Jenner, Jamie Lee Rattray, Claire Thompson (who finished with a three point night), Emily Clark, Blayre Turnbull, Emma Maltais (her first), Renata Fast, and Erin Ambrose. Sarah Nurse took home four assists, while Rebecca Johnston assisted on three.

Mélodie Daoust returned to the lineup after suffering a shoulder injury against the same Swiss, scoring an assist in 12 minutes of controlled ice time. Ann-Renée Desbiens gave up three goals on 13 shots in her least impressive game of the tournament, hopefully she can get it together before Wednesday.

Brianne Jenner scored her ninth goal in the tournament, tying Canadian Meghan Agosta and Swiss Stefanie Marty in 2010 for the Olympic record of goals in a single tournament. Agosta and Marty did theirs in five games, but Jenner only needed six. Rookie Sarah Fillier, by the way, has eight and could join that elite company on Wednesday night.

Switzerland scored four goals against Canada in this tournament, something even the USA can’t boast they have ahead of the gold medal game. Alina Müller and Lara Stalder combined for three goals on some world class plays. The Swiss are going to be leaving this tournament either fourth or third with a bronze medal, and knowing they scored four goals on mighty Canada in two games. They beat ROC, they beat Finland, and they scored on Canada. Can’t ask for a better showing from the middle of a very competitive second tier.

Game replay: https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1996125763862

Canada’s Lineup

Canada has evolved their lineup as the tournament has gone on as players have pushed themselves into bigger roles. On the first line, Sarah Nurse is officially up with MPP and fellow hattrick fiend Brianne Jenner. The second line is the reunion of Mélodie Daoust with the dynamic duo Sarah Fillier and Natalie Spooner.

The third line has really been a second line with Johnston, Clark, and Turnbull sticking together. And once again Jamie Lee Rattray got the short end of the stick despite doing everything asked of her on this team and more. That said, she was given offensive opportunities throughout the game, and Laura Stacey with her four goals isn’t someone to balk at.

Sarah Nurse - Marie-Philip Poulin (C) - Brianne Jenner
Sarah Fillier - Mélodie Daoust - Natalie Spooner
Emily Clark - Blayre Turnbull - Rebecca Johnston
Jamie-Lee Rattray - Jill Saulnier - Laura Stacey
Emma Maltais

Jocelyne Larocque - Renata Fast
Claire Thompson - Erin Ambrose
Micah Zandee-Hart - Ashton Bell
Ella Shelton

Ann-Renée Desbiens - starter
Emerance Maschmeyer

Switzerland’s Lineup

Lara Stalder (C) - Alina Müller (A) - Phoebe Staenz
Dominique Ruegg - Evelina Raselli - Keely Moy
Alina Marti - Laura Zimmermann - Lena Marie Lutz
Kaleigh Quennec - Rahel Enzler - Noemi Rhyner

Lara Christen - Sinja Leemann
Nicole Vallario - Nicole Bullo
Shannon - Sigrest - Stefanie Wetli
Sarah Forster - Nadine Hofstetter

Andrea Braendli - starter
Saskia Maurer

Three Stars

#3 - Marie Philip Poulin

Two goals, including a wicked shot. On a night when the goaltending wasn’t the most inspiring, MPP showed Canada that there’s nothing to worry about when she’s at the helm. Despite a tepid start to the tournament, Captain Clutch will be there when it counts.

#2 - Claire Thompson

The roving defender had a lot of fun in the first half of this game while scoring her three points. Team Canada has tried to activate their defense a lot more recently — having them cycle down to the goal line and drawing defenders away from the puck with aggressive skating and passing — and Thompson has been at the centre of that alongside Ambrose. We saw this as well in Fast’s tip in goal. Need I remind you she is a defender?

#1 - Lara Stalder

Not many people would believe you if you told them you scored three goals against Canada in hockey, but I would believe Lara Stalder. She has a sick shot and it’s paired up with a fellow world class player in Alina Müller. The third goal was a thing of beauty off the counter attack. That duo has led the Swiss up from fifth in the 2018 tournament to possibly third (and at least fourth) this year. That’s impressive to say the least.

The Goals

1-0 (Claire Thompson)

It took Canada 13 minutes to open the scoring, by far the longest they’ve taken to crack their opponent. Rebecca Johnston got the zone entry following an offside and drew two Swiss defenders into the half wall with her. This opened up the top of the slot, which Thompson walked into and hammer home a shot off the crossbar to beat Andrea Braendli.

2-0 (Jamie Lee Rattray)

Daoust slotting back in on the second line and pushing Rattray back down to the fourth line didn’t stop her from scoring yet again in this tournament. Rattray kept the show on the road shortly after with this goal from the front of the net. One of Canada’s biggest advantages is in front of the net and Rattray has been one of the biggest reasons why. She just stole the puck from the poor Swiss and buried it.

3-0 (Blayre Turnbull)

Thompson then created a goal for her teammate with a sick inside-out move and backhand pass for a tap in. Thompson was a defender growing up, but then made the transition to forward (as you can clearly see why) but then wanted to make the transition back to defense when she got to the NCAA. Her game has a lot of risk, but buckets of rewards if you let her go off in a tournament.

4-0 (Renata Fast)

I initially thought Sarah Nurse had this goal, but it turns out defenders are Fast at tipping pucks in. It was the first line again, with MPP, Jenner, and Nurse hooking up to get an open shot on the inside of the left faceoff dot. This goal got the Swiss to swap Braendli with Saskia Maurer.

5-0 (Erin Ambrose)

Ambrose made it five with a point shot that found its way through. Daoust got her first point of the tournament (finally) in her return to the lineup, with Spooner getting the secondary assist.

5-1 (Lara Stalder)

Lara Stalder beat Canada for the second time with a spin around shot from behind the net. Alina Müller got the primary assist again in a big moment for Switzerland

5-2 (Alina Müller)

Holy crap! Switzerland score again! I’m not going to say the result is all of a sudden in the air, but holy crap, Switzerland scored two unanswered goals in the first and second — the most damage Canada has faced since the USA game.

6-2 (Marie Philip Poulin)

A wicked slingshot from MPP gives Canada another goal.

7-2 (Emily Clark)

Rebecca Johnston created another easy goal for her linemate with this redirection from in front by Clark.

7-3 (Lara Stalder)

Switzerland again! Each goal I thought was going to be their last, but they just keep scoring! Stalder with her third against Canada and fifth of the tournament off a turnover from Turnbull in front of the net.

8-3 (Marie Philip Poulin)

While Lara Stalder was the first player in the game to get multiple goals, MPP wasn’t far behind with her second in the latter half of the second period.

9-3 (Emma Maltais)

Emma Maltais scored her first career Olympics goal in the third period. Her reaction was great, jumping for joy as she embraced her teammates behind the net.

10-3 (Brianne Jenner)

The nail in the coffin came late in the third period, with Jenner scoring her ninth goal of the tournament, assisted by Nurse.