Russia beats Switzerland 3-1 in Arnprior exhibition action
by Jamie Shinkewski
ARNPRIOR, Ont. – Russia did not look like the lower seed in their 3-1 victory over the defending bronze medallist Switzerland in pre-tournament action at the Nick Smith Centre in Arnprior, Ont., on Saturday night.
The game was the only tune-up game for both squads as they prepare for the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Ottawa, Ont.
Russia dominated the play for most of the game, showing incredible speed and puck control in the victory.
The Russians opened the scoring on an early power play, as Valeriya Pavlova walked out of the corner and slid the puck past Swiss goaltender Florence Schelling only 1:50 into the game.
Russia continued to pressure and Yekaterina Pashkevich made a great move around the Swiss defenceman, only to have Schelling shut the door. The Russians came back on a rush moments later, but Schelling made a great save off her right shoulder to keep Russia’s lead to just one.
Russia doubled its lead with 2:46 left in the period. Pashkevich got her stick on Alexandra Vafina’s shot to deflect it past Schelling’s outstretched blocker.
The Russians dominated the period, firing 21 shots on goal, while Switzerland only managed four shots on goaltender Nadehzda Alexandrova.
Russia continued to dominate through a scoreless second period, as they directed 20 more shots on net, but could not find the back of the net.
The closest anyone came to scoring in the period came with just over three minutes left to play, when Russia’s Tatyana Burina rang a shot off the crossbar.
Schelling turned aside three Russian breakaways in the period, as she was unbeatable for the remainder of the game.
Switzerland’s only real offensive pressure in the period came within the last minute of play, but they only managed two shots on goal all period.
Russia made a goaltending change halfway through the period, inserting Anna Prugova into the game to give both goaltenders playing time.
Switzerland showed some life in the third period. The Swiss outshot the Russians and made a valiant effort to come back late in the game.
With under a minute to play in the game and still down by two goals, Switzerland was playing on the man advantage with an empty net when Stefanie Marty banged home a puck sitting on the goal line to put the Swiss team on the board with 47 seconds left to play.
Switzerland continued to press for the tying goal with the goaltender on the bench, but a turnover at its own blue line sent Yekaterina Smolentseva in alone, as she slid the puck in to the empty net to put the icing on the cake.
Schelling was without question the best player in this game. She turned aside 47 of 49 shots, including two more breakaways in the final frame.
The Russian goaltenders were also very solid in net, as they combined to turn aside 15 shots, even though they were not heavily tested in the first two periods.
Both teams open the championship on Tuesday, April 2. Russia takes on Germany at 12 p.m. ET at the Nepean Sportsplex and Switzerland will face Finland at SPB Arena in a 3:30 p.m. ET start.
THE MOMENT: Switzerland @ Russia – Saturday, March 30
by Howie Shapero
ARNPRIOR, Ont. – What to write when there is more than one moment? In the game between Switzerland and Russia held Saturday night at the Nick Smith Centre, there were 47 moments.
Yep 47 great saves by the Swiss Miss, goalie Florence Schelling.
Russia won the game 3-1, but it was Schelling that was “the moment.” She faced not one or two, or three, or even four; no, she faced five, that’s right five breakaways, including one while her team was shorthanded – and she stonewalled them all. In total, Schelling faced 49 shots.
She thrilled the crowd at the Nick Smith Centre with an undoubtedly outstanding performance. The two goals that did get passed her – the third was on an empty net -- came in the first period on Russian power plays. For the remainder of the game, Schelling shut the door, locked it and threw away the keys.
The Swiss managed to break the shutout bid in the last minute, with Schelling on the bench for the extra attacker.
For the stats-minded, the shots were 50 to 16 for the Russians.
If she plays the same during the round robin at the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship, the Swiss just might stand a good chance of medalling.