It is fair to say the Olympic tournament has so far not gone too well for Team Switzerland, but after a win against the Czech Republic in the playoff round, they are in the quarter-finals. This is where they were expected to reach, as a minimum, and now have their eyes set on a matchup with Team Finland on Wednesday to try and reach the final four of the competition.
A 4-2 victory on Tuesday was enough to see Team Switzerland through, avenging their defeat against the Czech’s in the group stage of the competition. This was the first victory for Switzerland, who have failed to fire, and perhaps slightly disappointed in the group stage.
Starting things off with a 1-0 loss to Russia, where Switzerland were not clinical enough with their chances, it was much of the same against the Czech Republic and Denmark to round things off in the group. However, their playoff game was different, they played as though something was on the line, and scored four goals in what was a much better offensive performance.
Strong Defensive Effort and Four Goals Take Switzerland to Quarter Finals
Outright losses to both Russia and Denmark in the group stages, as well as a shootout loss to the Czech Republic, left Switzerland with one point and just four goals scored. In this game, they recorded their first victory, and scored four goals, doubling their tournament tally.
The foundations were built defensively, something that Switzerland hasn’t struggled with so far, but they really limited the chances given to their opponents here. Finally, pucks started hitting the net too, after being kept off the scoresheet by Russia in their opener, this performance was far better.
And just like that, Switzerland is up 2-1! 🇨🇭— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 15, 2022
Two goals in 13 seconds in the men’s playoff qualifier vs the Czech Republic!#WinterOlympics
📺 : @peacockTV
💻 : https://t.co/WcV8ggVf2D pic.twitter.com/IdrAT58Gw1
Finland stands in the way next, and if Switzerland is to have any chance of causing an upset in the game, they have to be as clinical, and perhaps even better defensively to stop the Finns. However, if you want a positive, then Switzerland has battled adversity and played their best game of the tournament when it mattered the most and go into their quarter-final with no pressure and nothing to lose.
Andres Ambühl Nets First Olympic Goal
The biggest moment of the game for the Swiss came with their first goal, which was scored by Olympic veteran Andres Ambühl. He is playing in his fifth Olympic Games here, but despite so many visits to the games, this was his first Olympic goal, and one that he celebrated with great joy.
It was clear that the 38-year-old provided exactly the kind of spark that the team needed on the day, and what they have been lacking in the tournament so far, pushing them onto victory as a result of it. If they are to upset the Finns on Wednesday, it is the experienced members of this group such as Ambühl that will play a big part in it. Denis Malgin also got on the scoresheet, he is another player with a lot of experience, and one that needs to come up big if Switzerland are to continue their journey.
What’s Next for Team Switzerland?
Wednesday is the day when all four quarter finals at the 2022 Beijing Olympics will be played, and these games will bring either progress to the final four or they will see teams sent home. This is the minimum expectation for Team Switzerland, but before the tournament in our team preview article, there was hope that they could surprise people and go a little further.
After frustration and struggles, Switzerland have finally found their feet, and the Finns will not be looking forward to facing them. It’s going to be tough, but with nothing to lose, going into the contest on the back of their best performance, and with some experienced veterans to lead the squad, Switzerland may be able to pull off a surprise.
Craig Jones is a freelance NHL writer from the UK, covering the Colorado Avalanche. Watching the NHL from afar, Craig has followed the Avs for more than two decades, and wrote about them for almost one. To get the UK perspective of the NHL and everything Colorado, follow Craig on Twitter @craigjones29.