January 27, 2022

Beijing 2022 Ice Hockey: Team Switzerland Preview



3 min readby Melissa Burgess



Beijing 2022 Ice Hockey: Team Switzerland Preview

2018 Olympic finish

The Swiss finished fifth. After sweeping group play in the preliminary round, they fell 6-2 to the Olympic Athletes from Russia in the quarterfinals. By shutting out both the unified Korea team and Japan, Switzerland was able to end their time in Pyeongchang in fifth place. Their best-ever finish was the 2014 bronze medal.

2021 IIHF Women's World Championship finish

A fourth-place finish was the best for the Swiss team at Worlds since 2012. They struggled mightily, losing all four games in the preliminary round and scoring just one goal. After beating ROC in overtime in the quarterfinals, the Swiss were shut down – and shut out – by the eventual gold-medal winners, Canada.

IIHF World Ranking

5th overall

Forwards

Lara Stalder, Kaleigh Quennec, Lisa Rüedi, Evelina Raselli, Laura Zimmerman, Rahel Enzler, Noemi Ryhner, Alina Müller, Dominique Rüegg, Lena Marie Lutz, Phoebe Stänz, Keely Moy

Defense

Sarah Forster, Shannon Sigrist, Nicole Vallario, Lara Christen, Stefanie Wetli, Sinja Leemann, Nicole Bullo, Alina Marti

Goaltenders

Andrea Brändli, Caroline Spies, Saskia Maurer

Head coach

Colin Muller has served as the head coach of Switzerland's national team since 2019. After they finished fifth at Worlds that year, then saw the 2020 tournament cancelled due to the pandemic, Muller helped lead the Swiss to the fourth-place finish last year. This will be his first Olympics.

Keep an eye on

Last year, Alina Marti was the youngest player to represent Switzerland at Worlds. She's still only 17 years old and will be the second-youngest in this year's tournament – only Finland's Sanni Vanhanen (16) is younger. Marti currently plays for ZSC Lions Frauen as a hybrid, able to play forward or defense. She's fourth on the team in scoring with 19 points (6G, 13A) in 21 games. Her skill should translate nicely to the world stage, and it'll help that a few of her Lions teammates (Rüedi, Rüegg) are joining her.

Of course, the other Alina – Alina Müller – can't be forgotten, either. However, her status is currently up in the air, as she reportedly did not board the team flight to Beijing:

She's only 23, but this would already be her her third Olympics. In 2014, she scored the bronze medal-winning goal, becoming the youngest ice hockey player ever (15) to win an Olympic medal. In 2018, she tied the Olympic record for most goals scored by a woman in an Olympic game (4), led all players in scoring and was named best forward by the directorate. If she is able to join the team at a later time, it would be a significant boost for them. If not, it's a huge loss.

Prediction

The big problem for the Swiss at Worlds was their inability to score. It's impossible to find success if you only score once in four games. They got lucky with the overtime win in the quarterfinals, but that isn't sustainable. Having Müller back would be a great boost; she only played two games at Worlds before suffering a tournament-ending ankle injury, but scored her team's lone goal in the preliminary round. While her presence is important, it's key that the Swiss team get scoring from others, too. Between Müller's offense (if she is able to re-join the team) and goaltending from Brändli, my prediction is that the Swiss see a fourth-place finish in Beijing, but if they can't get Müller into Beijing and the lineup, they could finish lower in the standings.

UPDATE

Alina Muller and Sinja Leemann are on their way to Beijing per Swiss Ice Hockey.

(Photo: IIHF)



Filed under: team switzerland; 2022 olympics; beijing 2022; ice hockey

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