Today marks the final games of the women’s Olympic hockey tournament in Sochi – the women’s tournament started a few days in advance of the men’s hockey tournament, and therefore ends a few days before. Later today, at noon EST, the gold medal game will played between Team USA and reigning gold medalists Team Canada. First, the bronze medal was decided, and it was certainly an exciting finish. Team Sweden faced off against Team Switzerland at the Bolshoy Ice Dome, puck drop was at 4:00 PM local Sochi time, 7:00 AM EST.
Sweden beat Finland in the quarterfinals, and moved on to face USA in the semifinals – a 6-1 loss to Team USA would send them to the bronze medal game. Team Sweden was a favorite to win the bronze though, with a 2-1 record in the prelims, they had the wins under their belt. The opposition, Switzerland, was without a win in the preliminary round. They took down the hosts Russia in the quarterfinals though, and moved on to face Canada – losing 3-1 to the reigning gold medal winners in the semi-finals moved them to the bronze medal game.
Team Sweden took the lead of the bronze medal game in the first period, scoring 14 minutes in – Michelle Lowenhielm was the goal scorer. That lead lasted into the first intermission, and most of the way through the second period. With one minute and two seconds left on the clock in the period, Sweden scored again and took a two goal lead into the final period – Erica Uden Johansson scored the goal for the Swedes.
The third and final period had a total of five goals. Unfortunately for the Swedes, only 1 came came from them. Team Switzerland scored four third period goals to take the lead over Sweden. Switzerland opened up the scoring in the period early, just 1:18 in, Sara Benz started the comeback. Five minutes later the Swiss added a second, Phoebe Stanz tied the game up at two with lots of time left on the clock.
With less than ten minutes remaining in the game, Switzerland took the lead 3-2, as Jessica Lutz scored with 6:17 to go. The Swiss would then add an insurance goal, Alina Muller added a fourth goal with just over one minute to go. Sweden made it even more interesting though, as they scored a third goal in less than 30 seconds after the face-off from the Swiss goal. Sweden would fall short though in the final seconds, Team Switzerland completed the comeback and won the bronze medal with a 4-3 victory.
Florence Schelling made 23 saves in the net for the Swiss, and Valentina Wallner faced 31 shots in the loss for Sweden. Switzerland skates away with the bronze medal in the tournament, with Sweden following in fourth place. Finland, Russia, Germany, and Japan finish off the rest of the standings – 5 through 8.
At noon EST, 9:00 local Sochi time the puck will be dropped for the gold medal game between Canada and USA, stay tuned into TMMOTS for continuing Olympic coverage.