U.S. takes care of Swiss
by Andrew Podnieks
Taylor Heise scored two of the U.S.’s four goals in the first period to set up a dominant 9-0 win over Switzerland tonight in Herning. The win keeps the U.S. even with Canada, both with 3-0 records, and sets up a showdown between the North Americans tomorrow night for first place in Group A and what could be a potential preview to the gold medal game on Sunday.
Heise was joined in the two-goal club by Hilary Knight, who scored her first two of the tournament and the all-time leading 48th and 49th of her career. In the process, she also recorded her 82nd and 83rd points of her career, moving ever closer to Hayley Wickenhesier’s record of 86, which now looks to be in peril sooner rather than later.
The Swiss are now tied with Finland with three points each and also play tomorrow in what will be a third/fourth-place game in the group. Equally, it is also a potential warmup for what many consider to be the likely bronze medal game later in the week.
The U.S. brought their usual intensity to the first period, not giving the Swiss any hope for the possibility of an upset. Given that the Americans had won all nine previous meetings by a cumulative score of 91-5, that wasn’t very likely anyway, but Abby Roque pointed them in the right direction. She planted herself in the slot, and Lee Stecklein fed her a perfect pass from behind the goal. In target-practise precision, Roque snapped a shot top shelf beyond the glove of Andrea Braendli at 5:48.
Seven minutes later, Caroline Harvey’s long point shot found its way past Braendli, and less than two minutes later Alex Carpenter made a pinpoint pass to Heise, who scored her first of the game.
Three minutes later, Heise was back on the scoresheet, but this goal had a bit of an odour to it. She drove down the left side and as she went around the net threw the puck in front. It bounced off the skate of Braendli and in for a 4-0 lead, disheartening the Swiss and making clear there would be no grand upset tonight.
Nonetheless, the Swiss came out and played a terrific middle 20 minutes, containing the American attack and getting a few decent chances of their own. Coach Colin Muller inserted Saskia Maurer in goal, perhaps to give Braendli a respite before tomorrow’s critical game, and she was steady, allowing only one goal.
That came at 15:43 on a U.S. power play, and it was scored off a quick shot from Knight. She also jammed home a puck form the blue ice at 6:15 of the third to make it 7-0. In between, Savannah Harmon lofted a high shot that went crossbar and in at 4:28 of the third.
In a familiar refrain, Cayla Barnes added another power-play goal with another drifting high wrist shot from the point. Just 16 seconds later, another goal that looked very similar. This time it was a quick point shot from Jincy Dunne that was tipped in front by Grace Zumwinkle. 9-0.