Switzerland, Sweden advance to semis in Sochi
Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - The medal round is now set for women's ice hockey at the Sochi Games, as Switzerland and Sweden both advanced to the semifinals with wins on Saturday.
Switzerland moved into the medal round for the first time, as Florence Schelling stopped all 41 shots she faced in a 2-0 win over Russia.
The Swiss, who had finished last in the top-tier Group A that included the top four teams in the world rankings, will now play Canada in a semifinal matchup on Monday. Canada, of course, posted a 5-0 win over Switzerland earlier in the tournament.
Russia had rolled through group play undefeated, but gave up a first period goal and was unable to solve Shelling. It will now face Japan in a classification game on Sunday.
Russia dominated play in the early going, but it was Switzerland which got on the board first for its first lead of the tournament, as Stefanie Marty rifled a shot past Anna Prugova from between the circles midway through the opening stanza.
Schelling made it stand up, as she stopped all 19 shots she faced in the third period to help Switzerland advance.
Lara Stadler iced it with an empty netter with 21 seconds to play.
In the other quarterfinal matchup on Saturday, Emma Eliasson scored the game- winner on the power play with 4:15 remaining to send Sweden into the medal round with a 4-2 win over Finland.
Lina Wester, Anna Borgqvist and Emma Nordin each scored once, while Valentina Wallner made 29 saves for Sweden, which exacted a measure of revenge for a loss to Finland in the bronze medal game in Vancouver.
Pernilla Winberg recorded three assists for the Swedes, who will square off with the United States in the semifinals on Monday.
Venla Hovi and Emma Nuutinen lit the lamp for Finland, which missed out on the medal round at the Olympics for the first time. Noora Raty made 28 saves in defeat.
Finland will play Germany in a classification game on Sunday.
With the score tied 2-2 late in the third, Finland's Emma Terho was whistled for interference and the Swedes quickly capitalized.
Sweden won the ensuing offensive zone faceoff and worked the disc to the high slot, where Eliasson fired a heavy slapper that slipped through a bevy of bodies in front and past Raty's glove to make it 3-2 with 4:15 to play.
Raty left the Finland cage in favor of an extra attacker with just over a minute left, but Nordin found the empty net with 41 seconds left to seal the outcome.
After a scoreless first frame, Hovi got Finland on the board late in the second when she pounded home a rebound from the slot with 6:44 on the clock.
However, Hovi was sent off for holding late in the frame, and Borgqvist buried a rebound with the Swedes on the power play 48 seconds into the third to make it 1-1.
Wester's one-timer from the slot off a behind-the-net feed from Winberg gave Sweden a 2-1 lead 5:09 into the third, but Nuutinen answered with a one-timer of her own just 12 seconds later to retie the score.