A pizza-fuelled Switzerland team powered to a 7-3 victory over Germany at the start of the relegation round, with Lisa Ruedi helping herself to a hat-trick.
After losing all three games in Group B, the Swiss camp pledged to forget about hockey on Tuesday evening and instead looked to bond over a pizza party. It proved to be a recipe for success, as the girls quickly took control of their game and seized the initiative in game one of the best-of-three relegation play-out in Dmitrov.
The scoring started early: in the fourth minute Lena Marie Lutz – who was awarded the best player prize after the game – won the puck on the red line and fed Sydney Berta on the blue. Berta advanced to shoot home the opener. Next, Lisa Ruedi got her first. Patrolling the blue line on a power play, she’d already fired in one mighty shot before Rahel Enzler teed her up once again and her second attempt hit the net. Within a minute it was 3-0 when Noemi Ryhner collected the puck from a face-off, advanced on Johanna May’s net and fired in a shot that got tangled up between the goalie and Lara Zimmerman before dropping back to Ryhner for a simple finish.
A flying start for the Swiss, but this team had blown a lead in its first game here and needed to be prepared for a German response after the intermission. However, Germany’s efforts to boost its offence were hampered when Switzerland scored three goals from six shots in the middle frame. First, Ruedi stole the puck on her own blue and skated all the way to the net for a short-handed goal. Then she turned provider, feeding Enzler for the fifth goal after Germany defence struggled to clear its lines. Enzler returned the favour a minute later, teeing up a shot from the blue line to clinch Ruedi’s hat-trick.
In the final frame, Germany briefly threatened an unlikely fightback. Franziska Brendel scored twice in quick succession, then Luisa Welcke made it 3-6 with eight minutes to play. A power play goal from Swiss captain Stefanie Wetli stamped out any hopes of a recovery, but the Germans will hope that their renewed momentum can carry on into Friday’s must-win meeting.