Switzerland was buried under a 55-second avalanche as the Americans power to a second successive victory in Group A.
A record-breaking blast midway through the opening session saw USA skate to a comfortable 9-0 win over Switzerland in Group A.
The Americans blasted three goals in just 55 seconds between 9:20 and 10:15 to leave the Swiss reeling and Amanda Kessel paced the offence with 2+2=4 points in a game which saw Switzerland largely outplayed for long periods.
There was scant consolation for the Swiss in a difficult afternoon, but the Alpine nation might find a silver lining in the resolute defence shown when killing a 5v3 penalty which ran 1:42 deep in the third. The bulk of the 3,812 crowd got behind the efforts of goalie Florence Schelling and her team as they battled to keep the score down.
The Americans were jubilant, and defenceman Anne Schleper paid tribute to a powerful forward line. “We always play the same way and it starts from totally owning our zone. Our forwards forechecked the crap out of them today, they were going in hard, forechecking hard and from that we created our offence.”
Julie Chu also paid tribute to a powerful team performance: “The speed of the game is incredible. We’ve got a lot of fast forwards and on the defensive side, we have a strong defensive presence. We’ve got a couple of six-footers who can also move the puck. It allows us to have a complete game.”
Ironically the Swiss had made a promising start to the game, drawing on the confidence they had taken from holding Canada scoreless in the final period of Saturday’s encounter. Despite forcing an early power play, though, they struggled to put shots on Molly Schaus’s goal and were soon felled by a triple whammy.
First up the Lamoureux twins combined, with Joycelyn setting Monique on a surge from the faceoff circle which ended with the puck slipping through the five-hole. And worse was to come for the Swiss defence on 10:07 when a jinking attack from Amanda Kessel sowed confusion on the slot and Brianna Decker prodded the puck over the line.
Eight seconds later Kessel reprised that dangerous dart on goal and established a new team record for Women’s Olympic Hockey by making it three goals in 55 seconds.
Things got little better for the Swiss as Hilary Knight scored her second of the tournament, sneaking a backhand inside the post after Julie Chu wrestled the puck free in the slot. Then a power play goal gave Kessel her second before the first interval.
“We didn’t expect them to score three goals in that short time,” said goalie Schelling. “We talked a lot in the locker at the first intermission, saying that we still have 40 minutes to go and we’ve got to battle till the end of the game. We have to go through this as a team and not individually.”
From that point on it was damange limitation for Switzerland, and the second period was a tale of marauding Americans bearing down on a plucky Swiss defence. Lara Stalder led the way with her willingness to throw her body in front of the puck and a steely determination not to be overpowered by the opposition.
Swiss forward Jessica Lutz said: “They got five goals early on but we stuck with it and we had some blocks and some stops. There was maybe 20 minutes or so when they struggled for goals. That’s a positive that we can take forward after the game.”
But that resistance could not last indefinitely, and the Lamoureux twins once again combined to find a path to goal as Monique collected Jocelyne’s pass in the right-side circle and slotted the puck upstairs.
“I just have a knack for finding Monique,” Jocelyn said after the game. “She gets in the open spots, hangs out in the quiet areas. I tend to look for her even before I get the puck.”
The start of the third was dominated by Kessel’s quest for a hat-trick. She found the net in the first minute, but had the goal taken away from her when a video review of an earlier play confirmed that Kendall Coyne had forced home a goal on the wraparound 31 seconds earlier. The eighth U.S. goal saw Kessel collect a second assist as Coyne got her second of the night and the competition.
“It was pretty weird,” Kessel said of the uncertainty around the seventh goal. “But when I saw Kendall [Coyne’s] goal go in I was pretty happy for my linemate because it was her first of the tournament. Me and Decker wanted to get her one.”
Alex Carpenter completed the scoring at 15:39 of the third period after being sent one-on-one by Josephine Pucci to get her second in successive games.
Switzerland now goes on to face Finland, looking to secure third place in the group and a quarter-final tie against the weakest qualifying from Group B; for the Americans a hotly-anticipated showdown with Canada awaits on Wednesday.
And Monique Lamoureux is anticipating a lively encounter. “It depends on how the refs call it but in games like this everyone is so passionate about their countries that we want to come out and play hard. It’s pretty naive to say there’s no body checking in women’s hockey – we have open ice hits and we have hard play on the boards. Both teams are comfortable with that physical stuff and the players are more physical when there are medals on the line.”
IHLC: With the victory, the U.S. retains the International Hockey Lineal Championship they won from Canada in December, in a four-game pre-Olympic series that they swept. The U.S. opened their Olympic IHLC defence with a 3-1 win over Finland on February 8, and retained in their first IHLC game against Switzerland since the 2012 World Championship Semifinals, where the U.S. crushed the Swiss 10-0 to qualify for the Gold Medal Game. The U.S., in the midst of their 27th IHLC reign, face their perennial rivals Canada next with the IHLC on the line.
03:29 – PEN – Carpenter, hooking
09:20 – GOAL – M. Lamoureux (J. Lamoureux, Duggan)
10:07 – GOAL – Decker (Kessel, Knight)
10:15 – GOAL – Kessel (Coyne)
14:23 – GOAL – Knight (Stack, Chu)
15:14 – PEN – Forster, body checking
15:42 – PP GOAL – Kessel (Coyne, Decker)
23:46 – PEN – Chu, high sticking
29:12 – PEN – L. Benz, delay of game
33:26 – GOAL – M. Lamoureux (J. Lamoureux, Stecklein)
40:49 – GOAL – Coyne (Stack)
43:59 – GOAL – Coyne (Kessel, Bozek)
50:45 – PEN – L. Benz, body checking
51:04 – PEN – Stanz, tripping
55:39 – GOAL – Carpenter (Pucci)
W: Schaus (10-10)
L: Schelling (44-53)
SHOTS ON GOAL
17+16+20 = 53
6+2+2 = 10
Goaltenders: Molly Schaus, Jessie Vetter. Defence: Kacey Bellamy, Megan Bozek, Gigi Marvin, Michelle Picard, Josephine Pucci, Anne Schleper, Lee Stecklein. Forwards: Alexandra Carpenter, Julie Chu, Kendall Coyne, Brianna Decker, Meghan Duggan (C), Lyndsey Fry, Amanda Kessel, Hilary Knight, Jocelyne Lamoureux, Monique Lamoureux, Kelli Stack.
Goaltenders: Sophie Anthamatten, Florence Schelling. Defence: Livia Altmann, Laura Benz, Nicole Bullo, Sarah Forster, Angela Frautschi, Julia Marty (C), Lara Stalder, Sandra Thalmann. Forwards: Sara Benz (A), Romy Eggimann, Jessica Lutz, Stefanie Marty, Alina Müller, Katrin Nahbolz (A), Evelina Raselli, Phoebe Stanz, Anja Stiefel, Nina Waidacher.