It was the expected result, but the way the U.S. Olympic Women’s Hockey Team wholly dominated Switzerland was something to watch. Team USA posted a 9-0 win over the Swiss, scoring just one less goal than shots allowed.
The U.S. got great performances out of its forward lineup and the puck possession they were able to establish never made for much offense for Switzerland. Team USA dominated from start to finish and looked far more confident and smooth in their game against the Swiss than they did in the opener against Finland.
U.S. Olympic Women’s Team defeats Switzerland, 9-0, in preliminary round action in Sochi: http://t.co/QB5yYDBb4Z pic.twitter.com/P5S1O7sJnY
— USA Hockey (@usahockey) February 10, 2014
That bodes well for the U.S. women as they prepare to meet Canada Wednesday in the highly-anticipated preliminary-round finale, which will determine who wins Group A and who will get the lowest-seeded opponent in the semifinals, to which both have already advanced.
Coming up after the jump, five thoughts on USA’s 9-0 win over Switzerland.
First up, here is USA Hockey’s Olympic show, including some commentary from me before the players chime in with their thoughts on the game.
1. Amanda Kessel announced her arrival in a big way in this game with four points, including a pair of goals, one of which was as pretty a goal as you’ll see. Kendall Coyne announced her arrival as well with a four-point night of her own. The duo combined with linemate Brianna Decker for five of the nine goals Team USA scored and Switzerland had no answer for their speed. After not scoring in the Finland game, this line needed to get into a rhythm and it looks like the got that against Switzerland. It is really a treat to watch what is the fastest line I’ve ever seen in women’s hockey, period.
2. The Lamoureux twins got going, too, with Jocelyne finding Monique for a pair of goals in this game. Getting that scoring from that line is a huge help to Team USA. They can’t match the speed of USA’s other units, but they’re tough on the boards, good behind and around the net and just make every opponent work for their chances. When the U.S. has all three lines clicking, it’s going to be tough for Canada to match.
3. Molly Schaus got the start for Team USA, but was barely tested. An early blocker save was probably the only thing of note that she was able to get her eyes on. That makes it tough for head coach Katey Stone to make a decision on her goalies for the Canada game. My gut says it will be Jessie Vetter’s net against Canada in the final prelim game and barring a disappointing outing, it will probably be hers for the duration. The U.S. does have the luxury of having three strong netminders, though.
4. Hilary Knight just may be the best power forward in the women’s game. Her physical strength is unmatched and she pairs it with terrific skating and an elite release on her heavy shot. She posted two more points and is tied for the team lead with Coyne and Kessel with four through the two games. She provides a great net-front presence and should be a factor in the game against Canada.
5. It came on the ninth goal, but Josephine Pucci’s stretch pass to Alex Carpenter for a breakaway score was a thing of beauty. It was a great read by Carpenter as well to find the soft area of the ice and give Pucci an outlet. Instead of admiring the pass, Pucci went to the bench for a change, not seeing the end result. The reason I point that out is that Team USA’s D passing was off the mark against Finland and was so much crisper against Switzerland. That’s a big key going forward since a good first pass is the key to a smooth and fast transition, which is where this team can kill opponents.