By Bill Brophy for WCHA.com
While the hype ramped up for the next gold medal edition of the Canada vs. United States rivalry, Switzerland and Sweden won classification games Tuesday in their final appearances at the 2018 Winter Games.
Canada and the United States both had days off Tuesday as they prepared to meet for the gold medal Wednesday at 10:10 p.m. CST.
On the ice in Pyeongchang, South Korea on Tuesday, Ohio State alumna Annie Svedin scored a goal to help Sweden beat Korea, 6-1, in the seventh-eighth place game. Sarah Murray, a former athlete at Minnesota Duluth, is the coach of the historic Korean team and got emotional after her team's historic first-ever Olympic performance was over. A recap is here:
In the fifth-place game, Switzerland goalie Florence Shelling, who got a rest Sunday while St. Cloud State goalie Janine Alder posted a shutout, set an Olympic record for most career victories (10) and shutouts (5) and the Swiss, a bronze medalist in 2014, beat Japan, 1-0. A recap is here:
There are 37 current and former WCHA athletes competing in the 2018 Games and 30 of them will play for a medal – including 23 that will compete for gold. Finland will play OAR in the bronze medal game at 1:40 a.m. (CST) Wednesday.
Then Canada, looking to win its fifth straight gold medal, will face Team USA, which has won the last four world championships, for the gold Wednesday night (10:10 p.m. CST North American time). Canada has won the last five games against Team USA, including a 2-1 decision earlier in the Olympics. The Americans had beaten Canada in the first three games of the rivals' pre-Olympic tour.
Both teams know what is at stake and a report is here:
Switzerland's Alina Muller is the top scorer in the tournament with 10 points (7 goals, 3 assists) and her teammate Christine Meier has eight (0-8). Former WCHA Player of the Year and Minnesota Duluth forward Lara Stalder (3 goals, 3 assists) is tied for third in Olympic scoring with six points, one more point than Team USA's Dani Cameranesi (3-2) and former North Dakota forward Michelle Karvinen of Finland (3-2). Another UND alumna, Team USA's Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, has four points (3-1), one better than UMD alumna Pernilla Winberg of Sweden (2-1).
Among other WCHA alumnae in the tournament, Team USA's Gigi Marvin has two goals, while the United States' Hilary Knight (1-1), Meghan Duggan (0-2) and Brianna Decker (0-2) have two points, as does Team Canada's Blayre Turnbull and Natalie Spooner. Sweden's Svedin (1-1) and Finland's Minnamari Tuominen (1-1) also have two points apiece.
Canada's Emily Clark and Sarah Nurse, Finland's Susanna Tapani and Emma Nuutinen, Sweden's Johanna Fällman, Canada's Haley Irwin and Emily Clark, and Team USA's Monique Lamoureux-Morando, Knight and Hannah Brandt have each scored one goal. Canada's Jocelyn Larocque, Brigette Lacquette and Meghan Mickelson each have an assist. Team USA's Maddie Rooney and Finland's Noora Räty each have two goaltending victories in tournament play, while Switzerland's Alder and Ann-Renée Desbiens of Canada have posted shutout wins.
Encouraged by the growth of the game and the competitive games in Pyeongchang, the International Olympic Committee announced Monday that the women's ice hockey field will expand to 10 teams at the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, China. The story is here:
Team USA includes 14 former and current WCHA players. Team Canada includes nine former and current WCHA players, 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
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
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
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
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
Goalie (1): *Janine Alder, St. Cloud State
Forwards (1): Lara Stalder, Minnesota Duluth