Entering Sunday’s game the Swiss were in high spirits after defeating Team Russia, and were looking to continue their dominance.
“Why not go for gold or silver? Why just bronze?” said Swiss forward Phoebe Stanz before the game.
But defeating Team Canada is no easy task.
The Canadian women have never failed to make an appearance in the gold medal game, and they came out strong in the first period looking to defend this title.
Approaching the midway point of the opening frame, Canada scored three goals in under five minutes to take an early 3-0 lead. Natalie Spooner scored twice, and rookie Melodie Daoust scored her first goal of the tournament.
Throughout the game, Catherine Ward would find Haley Wickenheiser creeping down from the blueline, and Spooner would screen Schelling in front of the net. This play worked wonders, and the Wickenheiser-Spooner line generated offense for Canada from start to finish. Meghan Agosta-Marciano was the third member of this offensive force.
After one period Swiss goaltender Florence Schelling was not herself, having given up 3 goals on 16 shots. However Schelling was able to bounce back in the second period and give her team some life.
“She’s one of the best in the business,” said former Canadian Captain Cassie Campbell.
At 5:14 in the second period, Jessica Lutz capitalized on the power play to put the Swiss on the board, and Team Canada was never able to run away with the game. Schelling robbed sniper Marie Philip-Poulan with an incredible glove save down low in the slot, and stoned Spooner twice to deny her the hat trick.
“We need to shoot the puck more, and keep getting chances on goal,” said Canada’s Catherine Ward during the second intermission. Canada was outshooting the Swiss 38-12 after two, but Schelling kept things close to the bitter end.
Looking to put this pesky Swiss team away, Agosta-Marciano scored at 12:30 when she crashed the net, although the goal was disallowed because Schelling had no opportunity to make the save.
Despite Schelling’s efforts Team Switzerland failed to bring down the Canadians, and will face Team Sweden for bronze on February 20 at 7a.m. EDT. The Swiss women have yet to earn an Olympic medal in hockey, and will record their highest Olympic finish no matter Thursday’s outcome.
Schelling made 45 saves in the loss, and was the first star of the game.