Bulldog Freshman, Switzerland Play Sweden on Thursday
SOCHI, Russia – Yale freshman forward Phoebe Staenz (Zürich, Switzerland) and the Swiss women's ice hockey team will play for a bronze medal at the Olympics after falling to Canada 3-1 in the semifinal round Monday at Shayba Arena. Switzerland will play Sweden, which lost to the U.S. 6-1 in the other semifinal matchup, for the bronze at 7:00 a.m. Eastern time Thursday (televised on NBC Sports Network). The U.S. and Canada will play for gold on Thursday at Noon Eastern.
Entering Monday Canada (which has won the last three gold medals) had outscored its opponents 11-2 in winning its first three games, but Switzerland hung close after allowing three first-period goals. Forward Jessica Lutz' goal 5:14 into the second period pulled the Swiss within two, but that was as close as it would get. Florence Schelling made 45 saves for Switzerland, while Shannon Szabados made 21 stops for Canada.
Staenz tied for the team lead in shots on goal Monday with five, and had 20:01 of ice time.
Switzerland advanced to the semis with a 2-0 win vs. Russia in the quarterfinals Saturday. The Swiss team is seeking its first Olympic medal; the team finished fifth at the 2010 Olympics and seventh at the 2006 Olympics.
Switzerland, which is currently ranked No. 5 in the world in women's ice hockey, lost its first three games of the Olympics (5-0 to Canada, 9-0 to the U.S. and 4-3 to Finland in overtime) before winning in the quarterfinals. Staenz nonetheless made history with a power play goal eight minutes into the second period of the loss to Finland, becoming the first Yale women's ice hockey player to score a goal in Olympic competition. 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 and fourth games.
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. 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. 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.
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 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, Quarterfinals: Switzerland 2, Russia 0
- Monday, Feb. 17, 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Semifinals: Canada 3, Switzerland 1
- Thursday, Feb. 20, 7:00 a.m. Eastern time, Bronze Medal Game: Switzerland vs. Sweden (TV: NBCSN)
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity