Sometimes in hockey there are times where you just can't get anything going. After laying it all on the line against Canada in the semifinals, Switzerland looked out of energy through 40 minutes against Sweden in the bronze medal game. Worse than the skaters not being able to move their feet, star goaltender Florence Schelling actually looked human for once, allowing a softie from way out with a minute left in the second period.
It looked like the put away goal against a tired team; it looked like a disappointing end to a fantastic tournament for Switzerland. But in hockey, what looks like what will happen isn't always what will happen.
All tournament the Swiss used a defensive shell and opportunism to score while relying heavily on Schelling, who should be the tournament MVP by the way, but were forced to change their game plan in the third period, pushing the play offensively. It worked.
After having trouble matching the speed of Sweden through two periods, it was Switzerland who looked quicker in the third, and it only took 1:18 into the third for Sara Benz to put a chink in the Swedish armor, beating Valentina Wallner to bring the Swiss within one.
Phoebe Stanz would be next to strike for Switzerland, tying the game at two and shifting momentum purely in their favor. After being penalized in what she clearly felt was an unfair call, Lara Stalder took it upon herself to push the Swiss even further, putting a perfect pass to an open Jessica Lutz for a tip in, giving Switzerland their first lead of the game.
On their heels, Sweden pulled Wallner for an extra attacker, only to give up an insurance goal to 15 year old Alina Muller.
Sweden didn't give up on the game, beating Schelling a third time 44 seconds remaining in the game, but they couldn't complete the comeback.
The win was the first medal in women's hockey for Switzerland, and the way they won was an excellent sign for Swiss women's hockey, and women's hockey in general. The collapse and hold on for dear life strategy the Swiss usually employ, dependant largely on Schelling, didn't win this game. They were forced to play outside their system, and they succeeded. It's a great start to competitive women's hockey.