After not winning a game in preliminary play, Team OAR beat Switzerland 6-2 to advance to the semifinals against Canada.
It was a test between the offensively dominant Switzerland and the offensively dormant OAR. Even though OAR didn’t win a game during preliminary play, they automatically advanced to the quarterfinals because of their rank coming into the Games.
Switzerland looked tired, and OAR capitalized.
Coming into the game, Alina Muller of Switzerland led the tournament with the most points. She had six goals in three games. After going undefeated in preliminary play, Switzerland was looking to improve on its 2014 bronze-medal finish.
On the other hand, Team OAR only scored one goal through their first three games. There are 17 OAR players participating in their first Olympic Games.
A pivotal test came for OAR in the first period after two consecutive penalties. For 55 seconds, they’d have to attempt to kill a 5-on-3 power play for Switzerland. OAR rose to the occasion.
Off a bad turnover, 22-year-old Anna Shokina found herself in a 1-on-1 situation with Swiss goalie Florence Schelling. Shokina executed perfectly, holding onto the puck, faking a slap shot and finding the back of the net, giving Russia the one-nothing lead. The short-handed goal was Shokina’s second goal of the tournament. It was the first time in the Games that OAR had a lead in a game.
In the second, Switzerland wasted no time. Just 47 seconds into the period, Muller scored to even the game at one all. It was a dazzling goal where Muller went to her back hand at the last second, elevating the puck under the crossbar. It was her seventh goal of the tournament.
Mueller is now two goals behind the record for most goals scored by one player in a women’s Olympic tournament. Meghan Agosta (CAN) and Stefanie Marty (SUI) are tied for most goals in a tournament, both scoring nine goals in the Vancouver Games.
There was an offensive outburst by both teams in the second. First, Switzerland’s Lara Stalder took advantage of a poor clear by OAR to give the Swiss a 2-1 lead. Team OAR responded two minutes later with offensive pressure in front of the net. As Viktoria Kulishova was falling to her knees, she managed to find a rebound in front of the net and put it past Schelling to tie the score at two.
Just as time was winding down in the second, OAR capitalized on the power play. Liana Ganeyeva used traffic in front of the goal to disguise a one-timer from the blue line. It gave OAR the surprising 3-2 lead.
In the third period, there was a sense that the next goal would bring the momentum permanently towards one side. Yelena Dergachyova scored a shocking goal for OAR. Off a faceoff, Switzerland had a poor turnover and Shokhina capitalized feed Dergachyova.
OAR sealed the deal when Shokhina scored her second of the game. They’d add an empty netter in the final minute. OAR found its offense, pulling off the upset beating Switzerland 6-2.