Here is Captain Kathrin Lehmann on the remarkable & emotional win vs her friends on the Swedish team on April 10th.
We all knew that winning in regulation time against Sweden is the only chance to qualify for the quarterfinals…never in the history of Swiss women’s hockey have we won after 60 minutes against a top 4 team. We beat Sweden and Finland during a world championship game but it was after shoot out or in overtime.
For me the games vs. Sweden are always something special. I played 4 seasons in AIK Solna – a Stockholm located club. I played with many great Swedish players like Maria Rooth and Katharine Timglas. Benny Andersson the Equipment manager of Team Sweden was also our Equipment manager in Solna. He was somehow my best friend in Sweden.There are still many players in the Swedish national team that I played with during my time in Solna. We won 2 Gold Medals and the European Cup – we went through great times but of course also difficult times.
For me it is always a huge challenge to play Sweden. I am so motivated – but on the other hand…somehow “is something wrong”….Linea Beckmann (and her dad) drove me home after every practice in Solna. When there was a good ice hockey game live on the radio during our trip home we drove very slowly and took an extra loop to hear the end of the game. Daniela Rundqvist translated always for me – till I spoke Swedish, and Gizela Bloom invited me for dinner – but, of course, I had to cook Swiss food… There are so many wonderful “heartfelt” stories that are with me on the ice when I play Sweden.
I do know all the other players like Frida Nevalainen, Kim Martin and Captain Erika Holst too. I also know all their families because they travel to all the games and all world championships. My father always joined the “Sweden group” when he was watching the worlds the past few years. When we played Sweden he was the only Swiss Jersey wearing person in a big yellow group – my father got finally a Sweden Jersey to really be a “Sweden fan” when Switzerland wasn´t playing. I still get the tickets for our games for the Swedish parents. Sweden is such a great country and culture. That´s why I fell in love with Sweden.
Sweden and our team are staying in the same hotel here in Burlington, Vermont . So of course the “friendly trash talk” started the evening before the game. I told Kim Martin that I saved my goal for her…
And yes, it is about ice hockey…about playing world champion ship – so fade out all these stories – but I took them with me to motivate me and show them all how much I love the game of hockey and how proud I am to be Swiss.
Against Sweden, we came out huge as a team – we didn’t only have the Swiss cross on the jersey we filled it up with spirit and determination. The chance to win against Sweden in 60 minutes was a given..even though it might be a small one. We know that we have to fight for any centimeter on the ice, we knew that their goalie, Florence Schelling needed to have a big day. We knew that Sweden could score first…that´s why we didn´t get nervous when Jenny Asserholt scored the first goal. We kept skating, were very focused on our game plan and kept shooting on Swedish goaltender, Kim Martin.
It was of course a big moment for me when I finally stood alone in front of Kim Martin after a great assist of my “blog mate and line mate” Julia Marty. I faked Martin and scored….it is just a great feeling to score against Sweden.
It was Julia herself who scored to take the 2-1 lead. It is her 3rd goal in the 3rd game – on defence!!! We knew that it was kind of early (still 17 minutes to play) to think about that being the final score. Sweden was too good – so we weren’t shocked when “old timer” Erika Holst scored the 2-2. There were still 11 minutes left to play. We had such a drive, determination and such a “calm attitude” during the game that I was happy not to play against us!
Somehow every one of us knew that the chance to score again would come – and our goalie, Florence Schelling will do anything necessary so that we just can focus on scoring. If we can play with our passion and creativity then we can beat any team (but Canada or USA). And finally Sara Benz scored with 3 minutes left to get the game winning goal. The last three minutes was just sheer determination – we fought for every puck – but we still played smart. To have this healthy balance between being smart and let the emotions guide you gave us the never expected but wished for victory against Sweden that brought us directly into the quarterfinals and to Sochi.
Against Russia we have the chance to get revenge for the quarterfinal last year we lost 4-5 after extra time…so, cross fingers that the another unbelievable Swiss story will go on..
The Swiss vs Russia game will be posted late April 11, 2012 after Swiss player, Stefanie Marty sends. .
Sweden-Germany 2-1 (OT) Sunday April 8, 2012
( 0 - 0 , 0 - 0 , 1 - 1 , 1 - 0 )
Elin Holmlov, Assistant Captain for Sweden on the very close game vs Germany thanks to the brilliant afforts of Jennifer Harss, Germany's goaltender and senior at University of Minnesota Duluth.
Once again the puck was scheduled to be dropped at 1.08 for our second game in the tournament, today's opponent was Germany. During this season we have played Germany three times and we knew they are good defensively, can create good counterattacks, and have great goalies.
Coming into the first period we knew we would have a lot of the control in the game and the importance of staying patient throughout the game. The first period was a little bit back and forth and not a lot of shots were taken from either team. The first period ended 0-0.
Before the second period we talked a lot about taking more shots and creating more scoring chances. We took about 24 shots this period but goalie Jenny Harss played like a wall for Germany and kept us from scoring. We had the game in this period, we created a lot of chances and knew once again we had to stay patient and keep building and creating to finally get the goal we were looking for.
In the third period we had a couple of power plays.
Captain Erika Holst scored a beautiful top-corner goal from the top of the right face-off circle after a pass from Frida Nevalainen. In the other power plays as well as 5-5 play we had chances to increase our lead but Harss played incredible in net. With about a minute left of the third period, Germany tied the game from a shot high up in our defensive zone. The third period ended 1-1, which meant we were going into a 4-4 5 minute OT.
It didn't take us long to put the puck in the net, 24 seconds in I got to a loose puck in front of the net after Jenni Asserholt took a shot. It was a goal and 2-1 win for us.
It felt good to come out with a win and now we are looking ahead to the last game of the regular round against Switzerland, which will be played on Tuesday, April 10th.
Game Summary: stats.iihf.com/Hydra/271/IHW271B05_74_5_0.pdf
US 9 Russia 0 Sunday April 8, 2012.
Blog by Caitlin Cahow, US Olympian who is injured but writing for WINIH.com.
Team USA escaped unscathed again tonight, recording their second 9-goal game in as many days. They didn’t give Team Russia much of a sniff, keeping them to 5 shots on net while recording 55 of their own. You can say what you want about skill and speed, and I believe Team USA has both in spades, but you rarely hear much about coaching in such lopsided contests. Having played for Katey Stone at Harvard and for Team USA I can guarantee she was coaching throughout the game and making corrections after each shift. When your team is up by a considerable amount, it’s a great time to push players because they are feeling confident about themselves and the game. You can address the nitty gritty stuff, and if you watch Coach Stone on the bench, especially on nights like tonight, she speaks with each player after almost every shift.
I remember coming to the bench for a change after making a good breakout pass up to my winger who collected the puck and dumped it deep. When I got to the bench, Coach was there to say, “you know what, that was a safe, legitimate play. But what would you have done if you were down a goal with two minutes left? I think you would have taken some ice, and moved the puck to your center, because she had room to skate and maintain possession for a scoring chance instead of getting squeezed on the wall and being forced to dump it and start their breakout.” And of course, she was right. I was playing my environment, instead of pushing my game. In games where you have a comfortable lead, you can make those adjustments in a way that doesn’t add stress to your players.
I think the US coaching staff is doing a great job right now in lopsided games, of working with their players to maximize the learning that goes on, so that when the big day comes, they won’t have to say anything, the corrections will have already been made. Coach never stops reminding us that “good is the enemy of great.” She doesn’t want us to eek out a win in an even contest. She wants us to be the best hockey players in the world, and asks that of us, while she demands that we ask the same of ourselves.
It may not have looked like an exciting match up tonight, but I know that the players on the US bench were challenged to take in plenty of constructive criticism. That can be tough, especially for a bunch of women who are complete type-A perfectionists and very accomplished at what they do. Each player in the locker room is used to being the best player on her team so having a coach consistently on your back about breakout passes that went tape to tape can throw you at first. But the lesson in our room really is, it’s not about you. It’s about how well you self-evaluate, find your weaknesses, and expose them to hard work so that next time there are no questions asked.
Sunday Apr. 8, 2012 Game Results
Sweden 2 Germany 1
( 0 - 0 , 0 - 0 , 1 - 1 , 1 - 0 )
Canada 3. Finland 2
( 1 - 0 , 1 - 1 , 1 - 1 )
Switzerland 2 Slovakia 1
( 1 - 0 , 0 - 1 , 1 - 0 )
USA 9 Russia 0
( 2 - 0 , 2 - 0 , 5 - 0 )
Cahow is a 2 time Olympian for Team USA in 2006 and 2010. She is on injured list now but attending the world championship. She is currently pursuing her law degree at Boston College. She graduated from Harvard in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in social/biological anthropology and was named USA Hockey’s Bob Allen Women’s Player of the Year in 2008. Here is her take on the devastating rout by USA against Canada 9-2 on April 7th, 2012.
Well the game on Saturday nite was certainly not what you expect to see from a U.S. Canada match-up. Team USA scored within the first minute of play and never took their foot off the gas pedal. The goal was the result of a great individual effort on the part of Kelli Stack, rushing the puck end to end down the right wing and getting a shot hard and low off goalie, Charline Labonte’s far pad. Jocelyne Lamoureux crashed the net hard and was poised to tuck the rebound behind the Canadian net-minder. And that would be the story for four of the five goals scored by Team USA in the first period, all rebounds.
The Canadian defenders struggled to clear the US forwards from in front of the net and Labonté didn’t have much of a chance to cover rebounds or move the puck to the safety of the corners. The two power play goals scored in the first were high to low shot-passes from the point to the back door, where the US forwards were feeling little duress. On the power play, Canada seemed to switch from their traditional 1-3-1 power play that has been so dominant in the past. As a US player, I am accustomed to seeing Caroline Ouellette in the slot and know how dangerous she can be, but she never really got to her sweet spot. Mary Philip Poulin had a decent chance from the slot, but Molly Schaus was equal to the task in net.
The score was 5-0 after the first period, and all of those goals came within the first six minutes. It is hard to say what was going on at the Canadian bench. In my experience, Team Canada always comes out fast and quickly takes control of the game with their style of play. That just never happened. When I’m on the ice, I know to prepare for Ouellette’s ability to move to a space and start the break out. I worry about Hefford busting through the neutral zone for a hail-Mary pass. I am constantly aware of the 3rd or 4th playing coming hard into the zone for a second attack drop pass. I try to prevent the 60 foot cross-ice pass that opens the Canadian game up and allows them to use their speed entering the zone. These are the elements of Team Canada’s game that make them great and very tough to play against. None of this happened tonight. Thinking back on it, and the most difficult parts about playing Team Canada, is how many mistakes they force you to make, and how quickly they capitalize on those mistakes to put points on the scoreboard. Though Canada had a couple of chances, they turned into missed connections, or a US play got a stick in the passing lane at the last second. Wickenheiser and Ouellette were the only two players to really pierce the US defense for good scoring chances. Agosta had some great offensive zone entry chances, but couldn’t capitalize.
Team Canada did have some good moments towards the end of the first period and continued that momentum into the second, when Spooner scored on the first shift. The tides looked like they might turn, but the US fired back and scored almost immediately taking some of the wind of out Canada’s sails. Though the US seemed to be scoring at will, none of the goals were pretty highlight reel goals. They were all hard-working net-crashing, ugly goals. Canada did strike back on a beautiful effort by Johnston, feeding Hefford on the back door after breaking up a US pass in the neutral zone. But as the third period wore on, the game began to get physical and chippy, and passes weren’t connecting as well for anyone. However there were some beautiful goaltending displays at both ends, Labonté, pulled in the first for Szabados, came back in with renewed focus and did a great job of challenging US shooters and taking away the angles. At the other end, Schaus refused to be outdone, sprawling across the crease to stop multiple odd-man chances that Canada peppered towards the end of the third frame.
At the end of the day, Monique Lamoureux-Kolls finished the game with 3 goals and 3 assists. She was the star for Team USA, but I was really impressed with Hilary Knight. Her physical play, her tenacious fore-checking and second efforts all over the ice gained her my 1st star of the game. For Team Canada, I think Caroline Ouellette was a difference maker for a sluggish squad overall. She and Hayley Wickenheiser were clearly frustrated but doing their all to spur on their teammates. For the new faces, I was impressed with Fortino. She plays hard on every shift. She plays fierce and physical and I thought she had a great showing.
Overall, it really is hard to summarize this game. It was not a great US-Canada showdown. It looked more like the US had their Wheaties that morning, and Canada forgot to get off the bus. I have the utmost respect for Team Canada, having lost to them more times and in more time zones than I would like to count. And I think the entire stadium felt a sense of shock and awe along with me at the lopsidedness of this game. I have no doubt that if/when there is a rematch in this tournament, it will be a very different Canadian team staring across the ice, and we will be able to witness an historic battle as all US-Canada games should be.
Assistant Captain Elin Holmlov is blogging for Sweden during the world championship. Here is her report on their first game.
First of all, it is so exciting that the world championship is here! This morning we had a pregame skate which felt really good. We got the puck moving and the atmosphere within the team was filled with excitement.
The opening game in a world championship is always a fun game to play. Our opponent was Slovakia, they have a very talented goalie and they work hard.
Coming into the first period we knew we would have a lot of control in the game and the importance of staying disciplined and focused. In the first period, we created a lot of scoring chances and their goalie made a lot of nice saves. We managed to put in our first goal on a power play pretty late in the period. (Editor note: Elin Holmlov scored this pretty goal)
Early on in the second, they tied the game at 1-1 on a power play as well. The rest of this period we created a lot of chances but their goalie was a wall up until Annie Svedin put one in from the blue line. The second period ended 2-1.
In the third we scored three goals. Jenni Asserholt got a beautiful breakaway pass from Frida Nevalainen, made a shot deke and put the puck between the goalies legs for 3-1. Johanna Olofsson scored her first goal for team Sweden on a nice shot from the blue line. The 5-1 goal was put in by Erica Uden-Johansson on a nice, well-aimed shot from the slot area.
It was a great team win and I think we played disciplined, with a lot of patience, and we created a lot of scoring chances. Sunday is a new day with a new opponent and we are looking forward to hitting the ice again!
Full game summary: http:// stats.iihf.com/Hydra/271/IHW271B01_74_4_0.pdf