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Round 2
Round 3
Stanley Cup Final

Swiss women rally in third, edge Sweden for bronze

Thursday, 02.20.2014 / 10:34 AM / 2014 Olympics

NHL.com

More strong goaltending from Florence Schelling and a four-goal third-period rally led Switzerland's women's hockey team to the first Olympic medal in the program's history.

Jessica Lutz scored the go-ahead goal with 6:17 remaining as the Swiss defeated Sweden 4-3 at Bolshoy Ice Dome on Thursday in the bronze-medal game at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Canada won the gold later Thursday with a 3-2 overtime win against the United States.

Lutz scored to put Switzerland ahead 3-2 and Alina Muller, at 15 the youngest player in the tournament, added an empty-net goal with 1:07 left that ended up as the game-winner after Sweden's Pernilla Winberg beat Schelling with 43.7 seconds to play.

It's the first medal earned by a Swiss hockey team at the Olympics since the men's team won bronze as the hosts at the 1948 St. Moritz Olympics.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime game, so we knew we had to give everything we had," Switzerland's Sara Benz told the IIHF website. "We did that. We have a great team and every girl deserves the medal."

The game figured to be a spirited affair with a medal up for grabs and each team looking to rebound after being defeated by one of the two women's superpowers. Sweden was overwhelmed 6-1 by the United States on Monday, getting outshot 70-9 in the process, while Switzerland gave Canada a bit of a scare in a 3-1 loss in which they got a 45-save effort from Schelling.

Down 2-0 heading into the third period Thursday, the Swiss kicked it into gear.

Sara Benz got them on the board at 1:18, beating goalie Valentina Wallner to cut the deficit in half. Sweden's Johanna Olofsson was sent off for tripping at 5:04 and Phoebe Stanz was set up by Muller for the game-tying power-play goal at 6:13.

"It's amazing we came back from being down 2-0," Muller said. "The older players and the coaches really encouraged us in the second intermission. We really believed in ourselves. It's amazing."

Lutz then provided the go-ahead goal for Switzerland, which earlier in the tournament knocked out host Russia in the quarterfinals.

"We never gave up," Schelling said. "We never stopped believing. A huge change for us was beating Russia in the quarterfinals 2-0. And then going into the semifinal and only losing to Canada 3-1. We won the second period in that game and tied the third. That was incredible for us to make us believe today we could win the bronze medal."

Sweden had taken early command of the game with goals in each of the first two periods.

Switzerland killed off a hooking penalty Sandra Thalmann took with 8:41 left in the first, but Michelle Lowenhielm got them on the board with six minutes remaining, beating Schelling off assists from Maria Lindh and Cecilia Ostberg.

Thalmann was sent off for hooking again with 1:32 left, a penalty which carried over after the first intermission. But the Swiss killed that and two more minors against them in the second.

Sweden doubled its advantage with 1:02 remaining in the second when Erica Uden Johansson scored, with Ostberg and Lindh again picking up the assists. That seemed to put the Swedes in control heading into the third, but the Swiss rallied.

"We played really well this tournament, but the third period was our worst," Sweden's Anna Borgqvist said. "They scored a lot of goals, so it's really tough right now."

2014 OLYMPICS POLL