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Women's National Team

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The Swiss women’s national team also won the second relegation game at the World Championship in Kamloops (Canada) against Japan 4-0 and achieved the minimum goal of staying in the top division.

Photo  swisshockeynews.ch

As a consequence, the Swiss will once again face Sweden and Czechia as well as well as Germany, the promoted team, in next year’s Word Championship in Plymouth (USA).

There is not much to tell about this second game of the relegation round. The Swiss capitalized on the first Japanese penalty to open the score in the ninth minute of play and then scored two goals back-to-back within 74 seconds during the second period. The team of head coach Daniela Diaz showed discipline and straightforwardness and did not allow the Japanese to get back into this game. After the game, Diaz talked about “another important victory. We showed an excellent team performance and could handle the pressure.” Now, Diaz will calmly analyse this tournament to draw her conclusions.

The Swiss fulfilled their duty in Kamloops by finish in seventh place and with three victories against Japan. To achieve the main goal, the qualification for the quarterfinal and the direct qualification for the next Olympic games, the Swiss lacked the luck and coolness in the decisive games. Out of 66 shots on goal during the preliminary games against Czechia (38) and Sweden (28), they managed to score a mere 2 goals. The power play statistics of these two games are also meagre: one goal in 17:06 minutes. Additionally, they received three out of four goals while playing short-handed. Eleven out of the 13 goals in the games against Japan, the Swiss scored on the power-play. The quarterfinal results of the two teams (Czechia vs Finnland 0-5; Sweden vs Russia 1-4) underline that the gap to the top group is not getting smaller. Thus, the Swiss will profit from intensifying the comparison with the top teams during the long stretch of preparation games from August and January.

There is room for improvement

Despite not achieving the goal this time, the future looks bright. The team is young, has a lot of potential to develop, has already gained experience at international tournaments, and will very likely tackle the qualification tournament for the next Olympic games, held in Switzerland in February 2017, with a similar roster. It is likely that the two experienced players Christine Hüni, 30, –with four goals and five assists the best scorer of the team and amidst the elite of the top scorers of the tournament– and Nicol Bullo (29) will stay in the national team. Furthermore, the injured Sandra Thalmann and Sara Benz, two bronze medalist from the Olympic games in Sochi, will soon be at Daniel Diaz’ disposal again. In the U18 team, there are various young talents who not only have secured a place in the top division at the last two World Championship but also won the bronze medal at the last Youth Olympics.

It is not yet known where in Switzerland the qualification tournament will take place (9-12 February, 2017). However, the Swiss will likely face Czechia, Denmark, and another qualifier from another pre-qualification tournament. Therefore, it is already clear that the qualification for the Olympic games in Pyeongchang 2018 will not be a no-brainer. (dmo/bsc)

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