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Canada’s adjustments work in 8-1 semifinal win over Switzerland at Women’s Worlds

Team USA is tomorrow with gold on the line.

Olympics: Ice Hockey-Women Semifinal - CAN-SUI
Feb 14, 2022; Beijing, China; Canada celebrates beating Switzerland in women’s hockey semifinal during the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games at Wukesong Sports Centre. Mandatory Credit: George Walker IV
George Walker IV-USA TODAY Sports

Canada put eight goals behind the Swiss in the semifinal game before facing the USA tomorrow afternoon. This was a much better result for Canada, who has failed to fully blowout their opponent the way the USA have in this tournament to date. The execution from this game should give them confidence they can beat the Americans after losing to them in the group stage.

The first line combined for three with Marie-Philip Poulin scoring twice and Brianne Jenner getting another, while the second line of Sarah Fillier, Sarah Nurse, and Emily Clark each scored as well. Kristin O’Neill and Jessie Eldridge both scored in the first period for the bottom six in the win. Poulin, Jenner, and Eldridge led the team with seven shots on goal each. The first line with Potomak combined for 18 shots in about 14 minutes together.

Ann-Renée Desbiens allowed on goal (on a 5v3 power play for the Swiss) on six total shots in the game in an overwhelming performance from the skaters. Defender Lara Christen scored for the Swiss on that power play as Saskia Maurer stopped 48 of 56 shots faced. Christen ended up having to leave the game due to a collision and didn’t return. This was another big blow to an already depleted Swiss team who only dressed 17 skaters in this game despite the limit being 20.

Canada will now play the United States at 1:30pm ET on TSN 1, TSN 5, and NHL Network for gold and silver. The game will also be replayed at 11pm ET for anyone interested in watching it then.

The Players of the Tournament for each team were given out after the medal round, with Poulin, Fillier, and Larocque getting the nods for Canada. Fillier led the team with 10 points (5g, 5a) in six games, with Poulin close behind with nine (5g, 4a). Larocque (and Fast) led the team in icetime, averaging over 20 minutes a game. It wasn’t the highest in the tournament as Finland’s Jenni Hiirikoski averaged 26 minutes a game. Japan’s top pair of Hitosato and Shiga were also up there.

The Players of the Tournament for the Swiss were starting goalie Andrea Braendli, Leeman and Stalder led the team in points with one goal and three points each.

Canada’s Lineup

Forwards

44 Sarah Potomak — 29 Marie-Philip Poulin (C) — 19 Brianne Jenner
20 Sarah Nurse — 10 Sarah Fillier — 26 Emily Clark
43 Kristin O’Neill — 40 Blayre Turnbull — 7 Laura Stacey
51 Victoria Bach — 27 Emma Maltais — 9 Jessie Eldridge

Defenders

3 Jocelyne Larocque — 14 Renata Fast
28 Micah Zandee-Hart — 23 Erin Ambrose
17 Ella Shelton — 12 Meaghan Mikkelson
21 Ashton Bell

Goalies

35 Ann Renée Desbiens
38 Emerance Maschmeyer

Switzerland’s Lineup

Forwards

26 Dominique Ruegg — 14 Evelina Raselli — 8 Kaleigh Quennec
28 Alina Marti — 22 Sinja Leemann — 7 Lara Stadler
71 Lena Marie Lutz — 12 Lisa Ruedi — 19 Emma Ingold
6 Mara Frey

Defenders

17 Christen Lara — 82 Alessia Baechler
16 Nicole Vallario — 10 Janine Hauser
18 Stefanie Wetli — 9 Shannon Sigrist
4 Nadine Hofstetter

Goalies

29 Saskia Maurer
40 Alexandra Lehmann

Lineup Changes

Jamie Lee Rattray was out for this game so Canada skated with 12 forwards and seven defenders. The big change in the lineup was Sarah Potomak moving up from the bottom of the depth chart up to the first line with Poulin and Jenner. The second line stayed intact as Victoria Bach returned to the fourth line.

The Swiss have played the second half of this tournament pretty shorthanded due to injuries. They didn’t have Alina Muller, Laura Zimmermann, or Noemi Ryhner, putting them down to only 10 forwards and seven defenders. In net, Andrea Braendli didn’t dress as Saskia Maurer took the net.

First Period

1-0

Canada had a really strong start to the game, but it took about 13 minutes to score the first goal when Ella Shelton’s shot snuck through Maurer between her glove and the post. It ended up being a goal for Kristin O’Neill after review showed her tipping it through. You can sort of see the puck coming in at a shallow angle, but hitting the net at a more direct one.

2-0

Only 10 seconds after O’Neill’s goal, Jessie Eldridge doubled the lead for Canada by completing a low-high passing play with Emma Maltais after Canada ran directly back into the offensive zone as if there was a magnetic pull accelerating them there. It was a great shot from O’Neill as she cradled the puck and whipped it into the far side of the net as Maurer was still trying to get across the first time. Ella Shelton earned her second assist of the period and her eighth point in six games of the tournament, putting her fourth among defenders in tournament scoring. Big breakout summer for her.

Second Period

3-0

Brianne Jenner added another early in the second period after another great offensive play from Jocelyne Larocque. The defender drove the net from the corner and flipped a backhand pass over the blue ice to Jenner on the other side. Jenner quickly transitioned to her backhand and flipped the puck up and into the net despite two Swiss defenders reaching for her stick at the same time. I was very impressed with those lightning-quick reflexes.

4-0

Sarah Fillier scored a fourth goal for Canada, burying the rebound from Emily Clark’s wrap-around after a long shift in the offensive zone for the second line. Clark had a defender all over her so she wasn’t able to elevate the puck to the short corner, which I think was her intention. Instead the puck squeaked out into the slot where Fillier pounced on it and scored.

There was a bit of a tense moment after the goal as Fillier and Stefanie Wetli ran into each other during Fillier’s celebration and Fillier shoved her. Wetli put her arms up and backed off as Fillier quickly moved on and hugged her teammates. More of all of this against the Americans, please.

4-1

Before this goal, Canada was on the power play, but they lost the puck at the top of the blue line to Lara Stalder, who raced the other way for a breakaway. Fillier was about six feet behind her at the offensive blueline, but chased Stalder down and plucked the puck from under her by the hash marks at the other end. Unfortunately, Fillier wasn’t planning to stop and plowed under Stalder, knocking both players hard into the boards. Stalder was slow to get up and laid on the ice for a while, Fillier got a two minute penalty for tripping, which seemed fair.

As the 4v4 ended, Canada got another penalty with Larocque for holding after not getting the puck out of the zone against the aggressive Swiss forecheck. On the extended 5v3, Lara Christen got the Swiss on the board with this goal on the team’s fourth shot of the game. It started with some good passing up top between Lehmann and Stalder as they swapped places a couple times as Canada tried to keep positional alignment while also trying to switch according to the Swiss formation. Eventually, Poulin left the door open (after switching with Zandee-Hart and Mikkelsson going to the other side) and Christen scored from the side of the net on the one-timer.

Third Period

5-1

Marie-Philip Poulin scored her fourth goal of the tournament with this tap in from in front of the net after great work from Sarah Potomak to go all the way around the net and find Renata Fast while the Swiss defenders were not set up at all. Fast made a quick pass to MPP who finished off the play, restoring the four-goal lead for Canada early in the third.

6-1

Sarah Nurse cashed in on the rebound as Canada scored their first and only power play goal of the game on their fourth attempt. Nurse was in position to capitalize on the loose puck shot by Fillier after a quick passing play between her and Poulin. Jenner was in front of the net screening the goalie who wasn’t able to get back across in time.

7-1

Marie-Philip Poulin scored her fifth goal of the tournament and ninth point. She’s also up to 29 goals and 54 points in 50 career WWC games. This goal was a classic “Canada is bigger, faster, and stronger than everyone else” because despite losing the faceoff, Mikkelson was able to win the puck with a pinch and Jenner pushed her way to the net with a drive. After two rebound attempts, it was eventually Poulin coming down the middle who knocked the puck in (as well as the centre on her and a couple other players hit the ground in the process. The Swiss pushed back during the celebration as it seemed Maurer had the puck for a split second, but cooler heads prevailed.

8-1

Emily Clark ended the game with a wrap-around for the second line’s third goal of the game (plus one for Nurse’s power play goal). This was all her down down low, no luck, just her hard work. Fillier got the lone assist on the play.