It wasn’t a record-setting 18-0 blowout like the first game, but Canada wore down Switzerland to the tune of 10-1 today at UBC Thunderbird Arena to maintain top spot in Group A of the women’s preliminary round standings. The result kept Switzerland without a win through two games.
Click here for the photo gallery of the game.
The Swiss, however, did win a moral victory of sorts. Darcia Leimgruber’s goal with just 13.3 seconds left in the second period was the first for the Swiss women against Canada in the history of women’s hockey. They had lost 6-0 in 1997, 10-0 in 1999, and 9-0 in 2007.
Shannon Szabados, frequently the third goalie in international play, made her senior debut with Team Canada.
Smaller and physically weaker, the Swiss made no pretense about the outcome of the game. Coach Rene Kammerer often had all five of his players adopt a strictly defensive position inside their own blue line, content merely to keep the Canadians at bay and the score down.
"We wanted to use our speed, not only by moving our feet but by moving the puck. We have a very good team that's built for transition hockey, and it's such a key component of our game," said Caroline Ouellette.
The Canadians broke the ice at 6:27 on the power play when Gina Gingsbury directed a low shot on goal which Gillian Apps deflected perfectly to the top corner.
"We do a lot of drills where we set up in front of the net," Ouellette said. "We have a lot of young players who can tip the puck no matter where it's shot." Indeed, several goals agsint Slovakia in the opener were also the result of deflections.
Canada made it 2-0 eight minutes later, just moments after killing off its first penalty of the period. Rebecca Johnston came out of the penalty box, streaked down the left wing, and cut in sharply on goal. Florence Schelling stopped the shot, but Sarah Vaillancourt poked home the rebound.
Canada made it 3-0 just 2:19 into the second period thanks to Cherie Piper. Her initial shot in the slot was blocked by a defenceman, but Schelling moved over to make the save. Piper got the rebound and had the whole net to shoot at.
Meagan Agosta made it 4-0 on another great deflection in front, this off a Catherine Ward point shot at 8:08, and she got her second of the game three minutes later on a great rush which she capped with a high backhand over Schelling’s glove. It was her tournament-leading fifth goal.
Leimgruber’s goal finished off a second period in which the Swiss made several confident forays into the Canadian end. Finally, as time wound down, captain Kathrin Lehmann’s point shot was redirected in front over the shoulder of Szabados for the historic first goal.
Said captain Kathrin Lehmann: "We're happy that the goal came near the end of the period so we could celebrate during the intermission. It was a very lucky moment for us. We could see that the Canadians were kind of happy that we scored."
Not too happy with the end of the second period, Canada came out with a vengeance in the final period, Jayne Hefford blowing by defenceman Stephanie Marty and beating Schelling with a great deke just 54 seconds after the puck drop.
Goals followed quickly from Catherine Ward, Marie-Philip Poulin, Rebecca Johnston, and Wickenheiser, the nicest coming on a rink-long dash by Poulin who made a beautiful move around Laura Benz at top speed. The last resulted in Schelling's being pulled in favour of Dominique Slongo.
"I don't think I was getting tired, but I was getting there," Scheling admitted. She and Slongo faced 62 shots while Szabados had to deal with 12. "They're a top team. They're together all year while we had two camps together."
Canada now plays Sweden in the final preliminary round game on Wednesday in the afternoon while the night game features the Swiss and Slovaks battling for third place.