International Ice Hockey Federation

Swiss take charge

Swiss take charge

France on the cusp of relegation after loss

Published 12.01.2016 14:37 GMT-5 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Swiss take charge
ST. CATHARINES, CANADA - JANUARY 12: Switzerland's Marion Gremaud #3 keeps close watch on France's Juliette Bardon #23 while Vanessa Bolinger #1 looks on during relegation round action at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women's World Championship. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Switzerland jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period en route to a 5-1 win over France in the first game of a best-of-three relegation series.

The win gives the Swiss a decided edge to stay in the top group for 2017, while France is on the verge of being demoted right after earning promotion.

Swiss forward Alina Muller had two goals and an assist, giving her nine points and sole possession atop the tournament scoring leaders. Muller also leads all players with seven goals. She has been involved in nine of her team's 14 goals this year.

"It was important to win," Muller said. "We know France wants to stay in the top division, but we want to as well. We know we're the better team, but that doesn't mean we'll win. Still, even though it was close for the first 30 minutes, we were never afraid we'd lose."

France had a bit of bad luck in that Chloe Aurard rang a low shot off the post midway through the opening period, and the Swiss came right back to get the game’s first goal.

Sydney Berta drove down the left wing and cut in on goal, sliding the puck between the pads of Anais Aurard in the France net at 10:02. Then, Lisa Ruedi blasted a hard shot from the point on a power play that found the net at 16:53 to make it a 2-0 game.

But France didn’t give up, and Chloe Aurard set up the team’s first goal on a nice pass in front of the Swiss goal to Lisa Verney, and she made no mistake at 18:02. It was France’s first goal in 152:02 of playing time, going back to its first game of the tournament.

Chloe Aurard had a great chance to tie the game late in the second period. She stole the puck at her blue line on a Swiss power play and skated hard the length of the ice alone, but her shot went over the goal on the breakaway. Moments later, Muller hit the post at the other end.

The Swiss added to their tally with a nice goal at 5:57 of the third. Tess Allemann fed Muller in the slot, and her one-timer beat Anais Aurard cleanly. Two minutes later, Muller scored again on a high backhand.

"When they made it 3-1, that was the difference," Chloe Aurard admitted. "We were tired. That was a bad goal for us, and we couldn't recover."

The Swiss finished the scoring at 17:19 with another power-play marker, this from Jessica Schlegel.

The teams meet again on Thursday, and the situation is clear. A Swiss win keeps the team on top, and a France win forces a third game on Friday.


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