VANCOUVER – The last time these two nations met at a big tournament, the 2008 IIHF World Women’s Championship, Switzerland upset Sweden by grabbing a win in a penalty shootout. This time, the Swedes kept the game under control all the way and bagged a 3-0 win in the first game of the 2010 Olympic hockey tournament in front of a capacity crowd.
Click here for the photo gallery of the game.
Goaltender Kim Martin recorded a shutout, Erica Uden Johansson scored one and assisted another, as did Danijela Rundqvist.
While the two countries often get confused with each other, there was no risk of that in the first hockey game of the 2010 Olympics. In fact, Sweden seemed determined to be on the driver’s seat from the get-go. And when Switzerland happened to also think that Sweden should be in the driver’s seat, trying to jam the neutral zone, the nature of the game was set.
Sweden had a few decent chances early on, but couldn’t capitalize on them. Meanwhile, Sweden’s goaltender Kim Martin was solid at the other end of the rink and turned away Switzerland’s scoring attempts.
"We were a bit unlucky to not get at least one goal. We dominated the second period, but they managed to score another one. Had (Stefanie) Marty scored on her chance in the first, it would have been a different game," said Switzerland's captain Kathrin Lehmann who played way over 31 minutes in the game.
At 12:31, Uden Johansson and Frida Svedin Thunström fooled the Swiss defence with a couple of quick passes in the corner, and then Svedin Thunström sent the puck to the front of the net where Rundqvist onetimed it in, through Swiss goaltender Florence Schelling’s five-hole to give Sweden the lead.
Sweden outshot Switzerland 11-4 in the first period and 11-5 in the second.
“We had a lot of good chances, we just didn’t shoot enough. Towards the end it got a little rough, but that wasn’t surprising, it’s been like that before between us and Sweden, and it’s going to be like that in the future. It’s the way they play, and how we play, too,” Schelling said.
“Our defense played really well. We made two mistakes and they scored on those,” she added.
In the second period Sweden struck again. About halfway through the period, at 31:35, Swedish forwards cycled the puck in the corner, played it to Klara Myrén behind the net, and she found Tina Enström in front of it. Enström, sister to Team Sweden’s Tobias Enström on the mens side, had an easy job to send the puck into the Swiss net.
With 30 seconds remaining in the third period, Lehmann had an excellent scoring chance when she fired a slapshot from the point on powerplay. Swedish goaltender Kim Martin was was unfazed and turned the shot away with her blocker.
Switzerland got the worst possible start to the third period when Uden Johansson grabbed a rebound and sent it past Schelling with a backhand shot. Schelling had already made two impressive leg saves on Svedin Thunström and Rundqvist, who picked up their second points of the game.
Switzerland got another chance on a 5-on-3 powerplay with seven minutes remaining in the game. They managed to get the puck in, but unfortunately, for the Swiss, it happened after the whistle, and Kim Martin’s shutout was safe.
"A shutout is always a nice personal thing, but I would rather see the team win, so a 3-1 win would have been fine by me,” Martin said.
She will rest the game against Slovakia, as Sara Grahn will make her Olympic debut.
The Swiss will face another tough challenge on Monday when the face Canada.
"We'd need a genie to help us win, but I can promise one thing: We’re going to score on Canada," said Lehmann.