WCHA Olympic Update: February 12
Each day of the 2018 Winter Olympics, WCHA.com will offer daily updates on former WCHA players who are competing in the Pyeongchang Games.
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Each day of the 2018 Winter Olympics, WCHA.com will offer daily updates on former WCHA players who are competing in the Pyeongchang Games.

By Bill Brophy for WCHA.com

Pernilla Winberg is playing in her fourth Olympics for Sweden. She has always been good on the big stage and it doesn't appear there is anything different about these Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea for the former Minnesota Duluth winger.

Winberg had two goals and an assist Monday to help Team Sweden advance to the medal round with an 8-0 victory over host Korea. Johanna Fällman, a former North Dakota defenseman, scored her first Olympic goal for Sweden before a noisy, flag-waving Korean crowd.

But it was Winberg who led the one-sided victory. Winberg, a 2013 UMD grad, won a silver medal with Sweden in 2006. In the 2010 Games, she had four goals in a game against Slovenia and, in 2014 at Sochi, Russia, she tied former North Dakota forward Michelle Karvinen of Finland as the Olympics' leading scorer.

"The Olympics is the biggest thing you can ever experience in women's hockey," Winberg told Minnesota Duluth's website before the Games. "We succeeded there and it was crazy and the best thing I've ever experienced in hockey. That feeling was unreal. That's why I keep playing because I want to reach that goal again."

A recap of the Swedes' victory is here: http://www.nbcolympics.com/Sweden-Korea-womens-hockey-game-recap

In the other game in Pool B Monday, Switzerland won its second game with a 3-1 victory over Japan as another former UMD star, Lara Stalder, contributed an assist and Florence Schelling was the goaltending star.

With the victory, Switzerland secured a place in the medal round and hopes to improve on its bronze medal finish from the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Here is a recap of the Swiss victory and Schelling's record setting career: http://www.startribune.com/schelling-8th-win-ties-goalie-mark-as-swiss-beat-japan-3-1/473771803/

The Olympic hockey competition resumes Tuesday with Pool A play, involving gold medal favorites, the United States and defending gold medal winner Canada. Canada faces Finland at 1:40 a.m. (CST) Tuesday when Pool A play resumes, while the U.S. plays Russia at 6:10 a.m. The United States and Canada conclude Pool A play Wednesday at 9:10 p.m. (CST). Both games will be televised live on NBCSN. The gold medal game is scheduled for Feb. 22.

In advance of the second day of competition for the U.S., here is a profile on defenseman Sidney Morin, a UMD graduate, and her unlikely Olympic path to Korea: http://pyeongchang2018.iihf.hockey/women/news/sidney-morin/ Here is a recap of the first day of Pool A play for the U.S. and Canadian teams: http://www.startribune.com/u-s-women-rally-to-win-olympic-hockey-opener-3-1-over-finland/473724043/#1

The standings for Pool A and Pool B are here: http://pyeongchang2018.iihf.hockey/women/

Group A will feature the top four teams based on the 2016 IIHF World Ranking -- the United States, Canada, Finland and Olympic Athletes from Russia -- with each of them automatically earning a spot in the elimination round. Group B will feature the remaining four teams in the tournament – Sweden, Switzerland, Japan and the unified Korean team -- with the top two teams qualifying for the elimination round.

So far in Olympic competition, Sara Benz, who had two goals Monday, is the top scorer with seven points. Stalder, her teammate on Switzerland, has four points (2 goals, 2 assists) and Winberg has three (2g-1a). Among other WCHA alumnae in the tournament, Sweden's Fällman, Canada's Haley Irwin, USA's Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Dani Cameranesi have each scored one goal. Canada's Brigette Lacquette and the United States' Hilary Knight and Brianna Decker each have an assist in the first games, and Maddie Rooney of Team USA and Ann-Renée Desbiens of Canada (a shutout) have posted goaltending victories.

Pool B competition resumes at 1:40 a.m. (CST) Wednesday when Switzerland plays Sweden and, at 6:40 a.m., Japan meets Korea, who is still looking for its first Olympic victory and scoring its first goal in Olympic competition.

The current standings in Pool B have Switzerland 2-0-0, 6 points; Sweden 2-0-0, 6 points; Japan 0-2-0, 0 points and Korea 0-2-0, 0 points.

After each team competes in three preliminary round games, the top two teams in Group A will receive a first-round bye in the medal round -- automatically advancing them to the semifinal round. In the quarterfinal round, the third-place team from Group A will play the second-place team in Group B, while the fourth-place team in Group A plays the top team in Group B. The quarterfinal winners will advance to face the top two teams in Group A, while the two quarterfinal losers will play the bottom two teams in Group B in a classification round that determines places five through eight in the tournament standings.

A schedule of all the women's hockey games at the Olympics is here: https://www.olympic.org/pyeongchang-2018/results/en/ice-hockey/daily-schedule.htm

NBC will broadcast and stream the games live. Erika Lawler, a former U.S. Olympian who played at Wisconsin, and Tessa Bonhomme, the former Ohio State all-American who won a gold medal for Team Canada, are part of NBC's coverage. Winberg is one of 37 current and former WCHA stars who are competing the Winter Games. Sarah Murray, a former athlete at Minnesota Duluth, is the coach of the historic Korean team. Here is a story on Murray: https://www.ncaa.com/news/icehockey-women/article/2018-02-09/womens-hockey-former-minnesota-duluth-player-finds-herself

Team USA includes 14 former and current WCHA players, Team Canada has nine, while Team Finland has seven, Team Sweden features five WCHA alumnae and Team Switzerland has two players with WCHA ties.

Here is the breakdown of WCHA players on the rosters.

* -- denotes that player has eligibility remaining

United States

Goaltenders (2): Alex Rigsby, Wisconsin; *Maddie Rooney, Minnesota Duluth

Defense (4): Monique Lamoureux-Morando, North Dakota; Gigi Marvin, Minnesota; Lee Stecklein, Minnesota; Sidney Morin, Minnesota Duluth

Forwards (8): Hannah Brandt, Minnesota; Dani Cameranesi, Minnesota; Brianna Decker, Wisconsin; Meghan Duggan, Wisconsin; Amanda Kessel, Minnesota Hilary Knight, Wisconsin; Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, North Dakota; *Kelly Pannek, Minnesota

Canada

Goaltender (1): Ann-Renée Desbiens, Wisconsin

Defense (3): Brigette Lacquette, Minnesota Duluth; Jocelyne Larocque, Minnesota Duluth; Meaghan Mikkelson, Wisconsin

Forwards (5): *Emily Clark, Wisconsin; Haley Irwin, Minnesota Duluth; Sarah Nurse, Wisconsin; Natalie Spooner, Ohio State; Blayre Turnbull, Wisconsin

Finland

Goalie (2): Noora Räty, Minnesota; Eveliina Suonpää, Minnesota Duluth

Defense (1): Mira Jalosuo, Minnesota

Forwards (4): Michelle Karvinen, North Dakota; Susanna Tapani, North Dakota; Emma Nuutinen, North Dakota; Minnamari Tuominen, Ohio State

Sweden

Defense (3): Johanna Fallman, North Dakota; Emilia Andersson Ramboldt, Minnesota State; Annie Svedin, Ohio State

Forwards (2): Maria Lindh, Minnesota Duluth; Pernilla Winberg, Minnesota Duluth

Switzerland

Goalie (1): *Janine Alder, St. Cloud State

Forwards (1): Lara Stalder, Minnesota Duluth