Swiss Team Remains in Contention for Medal
SOCHI, Russia – Freshman forward Phoebe Staenz (Zürich, Switzerland) and Team Switzerland needed a win at the Olympics on Saturday to keep their hopes of an Olympic medal alive, and they got it. The Swiss beat Russia 2-0 in the quarterfinals for their first win of the tournament, earning a spot in the semifinals. The winner of Switzerland's game vs. Canada on Monday (Noon Eastern time on MSNBC) will play in the gold-medal game next Thursday, while the loser will play in the bronze-medal game. The other semifinal pits Sweden vs. the United States.
Staenz tied for second on the team in shots on goal Saturday with four, and she was on the ice for the game-winning goal. Forward Stefanie Marty put Switzerland ahead 1-0 at the 10:46 mark of the first period, and defenseman Lara Stalder added an empty-net goal with 21 seconds left to seal the win. Swiss goalie Florence Schelling made 41 saves for the shutout. Staenz saw a total of 22:08 of ice time.
Saturday's win is part of a memorable week for Staenz. She became the first Yale women's ice hockey player to score a goal in Olympic competition when she scored on a power play eight minutes into the second period of Switzerland's 4-3 overtime loss to Finland on Wednesday. She led her team in shots on goal in the first two games, then had the second-most on the team in the third game.
Switzerland, which fell to Canada 5-0 last Saturday and to the U.S. 9-0 this past Monday, is currently ranked No. 5 in the world in women's ice hockey. The team finished fifth at the 2010 Olympics and seventh at the 2006 Olympics.
The Olympic women's ice hockey competition takes place Feb. 8-20. The eight-team tournament started with teams competing in groups of four. Switzerland was in "Group A" with No. 2 Canada, No. 3 Finland and No. 1 USA. After three games of round-robin play within each group, the top two teams in Group A (Canada and the U.S.) advanced directly to the semifinals (Feb. 17). The third- and fourth-place finishers in Group A played the second- and first-place finishers from Group B (No. 4 Russia and No. 6 Sweden), respectively, in the quarterfinals on Feb. 15. Sweden beat Finland 4-2 to advance to the semis along with Canada, Switzerland and the U.S.
The classification round includes No. 3 Finland, No. 7 Germany, No. 10 Japan and No. 4 Russia.
The gold medal game and the bronze medal game are on Feb. 20 at Bolshoy Ice Dome.
Staenz (whose last name is pronounced "Stence") was one of 21 players selected for Switzerland's roster. She has extensive experience playing with the Swiss National Team, including three appearances in the IIHF Women's World Championship (sixth place in 2013 in Ottawa, a bronze medal in 2012 in Vermont and a sixth-place finish in 2011 in Switzerland). Prior to making the Swiss National Team for the World Championship in 2011 she played for the Swiss Under-18 team for three years.
Staenz, a resident of Ezra Stiles college at Yale, has made an instant impact for the Bulldogs. She currently leads the team in goals, assists and points (9-14-23). Her selection to the Olympic roster is another milestone for the Yale program. The other Bulldog women's ice hockey players in Olympic history were Helen Resor '09 (USA) and Denise Soesilo '10 (Germany), who played at the 2006 Olympics, and Natalie Babony '06 (Slovakia), who played at the 2010 Olympics. Yale's former head coach, Hilary Witt, is an assistant coach with Team USA this year.
Resor had two assists in the 2006 games, including one in the U.S. team's 4-0 win over Finland for the bronze medal. Soesilo and Germany finished fifth that year, with Soesilo getting one assist -- on the game-winning goal in a 5-2 win over Italy that earned Germany a spot in the 5/6 classification round game. Babony had one assist in 2010, when Slovakia finished eighth.
Switzerland Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Schedule
- Saturday, Feb. 8, 8:00 a.m. Eastern time: Canada 5, Switzerland 0
- Monday, Feb. 10, 5:00 a.m. Eastern time: USA 9, Switzerland 0
- Wednesday, Feb. 12, 3:00 a.m. Eastern Time: Finland 4, Switzerland 3 OT
- Saturday, Feb. 15, 7:30 a.m. Eastern Time: Switzerland 2, Russia 0
- Monday, Feb. 17, 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time: Semifinals, Switzerland vs. Canada (TV: MSNBC)
- Thursday, Feb. 20, 7:00 a.m. or 12:00 p.m. Eastern time: Bronze Medal Game (TV: NBCSN) or Gold Medal Game (TV: NBC)
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (email@example.com), Yale Sports Publicity