Sochi recap: Curling, women’s bronze medal game

Young British skip Eve Muirhead hit all the shots as she needed them, taking Olympic bronze in a well-played bronze medal game.

Date: 20-Feb

Sport: Curling

Event: Women’s bronze medal game, Britain vs. Switzerland

What happened: Switzerland’s Mirjam Ott had all the shots early. She was dialed in on her takeouts to take two in the second end. They traded singles in the next two ends. Eve Muirhead hit a double takeout and another takeout in the fifth to score two, leaving the teams tied 3-3 at the halfway point. Switzerland had the hammer and a slight advantage.

Ott went for the blank in the sixth end but left her rock in the house, scoring one. Muirhead successfully blanked the seventh.

Britain got two to take the lead in the eighth. Switzerland’s Carmen Schaefer missed everything in the house with her second shot, Ott missed a double takeout, and Muirhead drew carefully for the double.

Muirhead’s team was simply superb in the ninth end. They called time out to talk with coach David Hay to figure out how to limit Switzerland to one. Anna Sloan bumped a Swiss rock out of potential scoring position. Muirhead took both Swiss rocks out of the house. Ott put one back, but Muirhead carefully bumped it through two British rocks out of the four-foot. Britain had three in scoring position, and Ott had to play a careful draw just to get one, tying the game 5-5 but handing the hammer back to Britain for the 10th end.

Switzerland wasn’t able to introduce many complications in the final end. Ott put her last stone in scoring position just inside the eight-foot. Muirhead, the world champion, had the relatively easy but high-pressure draw for the win. She put it right on the button.

Full resultsRecaps with diagrams

Sochi recap: Women’s ice hockey, Switzerland-Russia

A classic goaltender’s battle: Russia’s 20-year-old Anna Prugova vs. Switzerland’s Florence Schelling, the two-time Hockey East player of the year at Northeastern University. Prugova was nearly perfect. Schelling was better.

Date: 15-Feb

Sport: Women’s ice hockey

Event: Switzerland vs. Russia

Score: Switzerland 2, Russia 0

What happened: A tense scoreless affair for 30 minutes until Switzerland’s Stefanie Marty scored halfway through the second period. Russia couldn’t convert four power plays through two periods.

The host country came out hard in the third and peppered Florence Schelling, outshooting the Swiss 19-7. But the Swiss did a nice job of clearing traffic so Schelling could see the shots coming.

Russia pulled goalie Anna Prugova with 90 seconds left and piled on the pressure. But the Swiss defense blocked a couple of shots and sent Lara Stalder the other way with the puck. The Russian defense retreated in front of the open net, but Stalder calmly buried her shot to seal the game and a semifinal date with Canada.

Ominously, just after the final horn sounded on the Russian women’s Olympic hopes, the men conceded a go-ahead goal to the USA.


Sochi recap: Men’s ice hockey, Sweden-Switzerland

A stingy Swiss team frustrated high-powered Sweden, but the Swedish veterans managed to get the only goal they needed in the last 10 minutes for the win.

Date: 14-Feb

Sport: Men’s hockey

Event: Sweden vs. Switzerland

Score: Sweden 1, Switzerland 0

What happened: For two periods, nothing. Switzerland rotated goalies, benching L.A. Kings goalie Jonas Hiller despite an opening 1-0 shutout over Latvia. Reto Berra, who just made the move to the NHL with Calgary this season, proved to be difficult to solve as well.

Sweden, which just lost captain Henrik Zetterberg to a back injury, took a while to get going. Switzerland, which still has more than half its roster in its domestic league rather than the NHL, outshot the Swedes 13-5 in the first period. Switzerland turned that around in the second with 17 shots to Switzerland’s seven.

The breakthrough came on a nice counterattack and a bad rebound. Defenseman Erik Karlsson, leading Sweden in ice time to that point, swung out wide and put a shot on net. Berra made the save but let it slide to his right, where five-time Olympian Daniel Alfredsson quickly swooped in to tap it into an empty net with 7:21 left.

Did we mention Sweden has Henrik Lundqvist in net? And Sweden kept the pressure off him late, pinning Switzerland in its own end and making it difficult to pull Berra. The goalie finally reached the bench with less than a minute left, and Sweden again came up with possession for several vital seconds. Switzerland found an opening on the right wing for one last shot with 10 seconds left, but Lundqvist had it covered.


Virtual Viewing Party: Wednesday’s games

The first pass through the field of 32 comes to a merciful close today. Starting at 2:30 p.m. ET, teams had better pick it up a bit, or they’ll be booking plane flights out of Johannesburg.

On paper, Group H (first two games) should bring us out of the offensive doldrums today. But games aren’t played on paper — they’re played in the midst of thousands of vuvuzelas.

Our hosts are:

Honduras-Chile, 7:30 a.m. ET, ESPN
Spain-Switzerland, 10 a.m. ET, ESPN
South Africa-Uruguay, 2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
(all on ESPN Deportes / / Univision)

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