Swiss Beat ROC, Advance to Women’s Semifinals – NBC Bay Area
Switzerland beat the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) 4-2 on Saturday in a tense and contested quarter-final in the women’s ice hockey tournament at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Alina Muller scored twice in the final three minutes to take the Swiss into the semi-finals for the first time since 2014, when they won bronze, after the teams were tied at 1-1 before the third period before trading goals.
“Everyone fought so hard and everyone wanted to help each other out,” Muller said. “In the end, it paid off.”
Switzerland will face Canada in the semifinals on Monday after the Canadians beat Sweden 11-0 on Friday.
Canada have won gold four times since the women’s tournament was introduced to the Olympic program in 1998, but lost to arch-rivals USA in the gold medal match at PyeongChang 2018.
After a scoreless first period, Swiss striker Phoebe Staenz fired a wrist shot past the Russian keeper for the opener.
However, ROC quickly hit back as 20-year-old Anna Savonina hit the back bar with such force that the puck ricocheted off before officials could be sure it was a goal.
A brief review confirmed that the effort counted and both teams entered the third period tied.
Switzerland’s Dominique Ruegg produced the decisive goal midway through the third, moments after a similar effort by ROC captain Anna Shokhina was called off due to a missed save.
Five minutes from time, ROC forward Fanuza Kadirova equalized but Muller put the Swiss ahead 30 seconds later before sending the puck into an empty net for the fourth.
“The emotions are really strong. It’s so beautiful. It’s what we’ve worked for every day, for years and years,” Muller added. “It’s just the moment you live for.”
Five members of the ROC squad did not take part in the game, including their tournament top scorer Polina Bolgareva, who tested positive for COVID-19 this week, according to Russian media.
The team has struggled with absences throughout the tournament, after six players were placed in solitary confinement last week following positive COVID tests.
Switzerland will face Canada in the first women’s semi-final at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
The match will be played at 11:10 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 13.
Team USA faces Finland in the other semi-final scheduled for Monday, February 14. The puck drops for the second semi-final at 8:10 a.m.
USA Network will air both semi-final matches and they will be available to stream on Peacock.