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Trio of third period goals propel Swiss into semis

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Facing off for the second time in Beijing, Switzerland and ROC played for the opportunity to qualify for the semifinals. In their previous match, ROC prevailed in a convincing 5-2 final. Powered by a hat trick from Polina Bolgareva, Maria Sorokina recorded 28 saves.

Having finished as the last place team in Group A, Switzerland surprised in the quarterfinals with a 4-2 win. As the lead changed three times, Switzerland scored thrice in the final period.

The game’s first goal was only scored in the second period. At the 14:31 mark, longtime Swiss skater Phoebe Staenz found the back of the net. Team captain Lara Stalder and assistant captain Alina Muller provided the assists.

However, the lead would not last long. Less than four minutes later, blueliner Anna Savonina scored her first goal of the Olympics. Similar to the Swiss goal, ROC’s team captain assisted. Anna Shokhina, along with Veronika Korzhakova collaborated.

Dominique Ruegg, who turned 26 on February 5, supplied Switzerland with the lead once again. Scoring at the 7:31 mark in the third, assists were credited to Keely Moy and Nicole Vallario. 

Although a pair of penalties followed Ruegg’s goal, her second of the Olympics, neither was able to take advantage of the power play opportunities.

Following the expiration of the Swiss penalty, which saw Nicole Bullo called for cross checking, ROC tied the game. Recording her first goal of the Olympics, Polina Luchnikova scored at 16:23.

Merely 30 seconds later, Alina Muller provided Switzerland with the go-ahead goal. With Stalder logging her second assist of the game, she continues to be her team’s leading scorer in Beijing.

Despite falling behind, there were still hopes of ROC forcing overtime. Called for tripping with less than two minutes to play, Keely Moy’s penalty could have been the game’s turning point.

Strategically, ROC decided to take advantage of the power play by opting for an extra attacker. Removing goaltender Valeria Merkushera, the hope of tying the game did not materialize.

Instead, Muller scored into an empty net for her second of the game. Prevailing in a 4-2 final, it marked only the second win for Switzerland. Reaching the semifinals for the first time since 2014, the next opponent shall be top seeded Canada on February 14.

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