International Ice Hockey Federation

Swiss get edge on Japan

Special teams step up in Switzerland’s win

Published 01.04.2016 23:15 GMT-7 | Author Lucas Aykroyd
Swiss get edge on Japan
KAMLOOPS, BC - APRIL 1: Switzerland's Dominique Ruegg #26 and Japan's Aina Takeuchi #9 battle for position while Japan's Nana Fujimoto #1 looks on during relegation round action at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship. (Photo by Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Swiss team scoring leader Christine Huni got the first-period winner in a 3-1 victory over Japan to open their best-of-three relegation series on Friday.

Special teams played a big role in the Swiss victory at McArthur Island Centre.

Japan got off to a great start, taking the early lead on Yurie Adachi’s goal at 1:49. But Swiss assistant captain Anja Stiefel struck back with a power play tally at 6:59 to even the score.

After Huni’s go-ahead goal at 18:40, which gave her six points at these Women's Worlds, Switzerland proceeded to take five of the next six minor penalties assessed in the game.

However, they killed off every Japanese advantage, and Lara Stalder’s 3-1 power play goal at 2:36 of the second period proved to be all the insurance coach Daniela Diaz’s squad would need.

Switzerland outshot Japan 27-15. Star goalie Florence Schelling earned the win against Japan’s Nana Fujimoto, who was pulled for an extra attacker in the closing moments.

Game Two in the series is Sunday at 13:00 local time.

Switzerland, which won the 2014 Olympic bronze medal, is striving to avoid being relegated for the first time since 2004.

Japan, meanwhile, must win two in a row if it wants to stay in the top group for three straight years for the first time in its Women’s Worlds history.

Switzerland's Alina Muller did not play, and will be out for the rest of the tournament. In the previous game against Sweden, she suffered a knee injury on a shot from a Swedish player.