International Ice Hockey Federation

WW Top 25 Stories: #25

WW Top 25 Stories: #25

Russia-Switzerland a dandy display in 2011

Published 11.03.2015 18:23 GMT+1 | Author Andrew Podnieks
WW Top 25 Stories: #25
Russian players Alexandra Vafina, Olga Permyakova and Alexandra Kapustina celebrate a goal in their comeback attempt against Switzerland during the 2011 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Zurich. Photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images
22 April 2011. It might well have been the most entertaining and dramatic women’s game involving European teams ever played.

The scene was the Hallenstadion in Zurich at the 2011 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship.

Russia had finished in third place in Group A and the Swiss finished in second in Group B. The crossover quarter-finals would decide which team advanced to the semi-finals to face the United States while the loser would go on to play Sweden in the 5th/6th place game.

Darcia Leimgruber opened the scoring after just 35 seconds for the Swiss, and two goals from speedy teammate Sara Benz in the second made it 3-0 after two periods. All signs pointed to an historic win for the home side looking to make the top four for only the second time.

It wasn’t until 7:49 of the final period that Russia got on the board, thanks to a nice deke by Yekaterina Smolentseva on Swiss goalie Florence Schelling. Just three minutes later, Olga Permyakova made it a 3-2 game on a power play, and just like that a sure victory was now a nailbiter.

Swiss coach Rene Kammerer called a timeout, but the 30-second break wasn’t enough. The Swiss, unnerved, couldn’t hold the lead, and Alexandra Kapustina tied the game at 12:01.

"When we got down 3-0, it was a tough moment," Iya Gavrilova conceded. "In the third period, we came together as a team. When we got that first goal, we knew we had a chance. Our manager talked to us at the intermission and said that our guys were down 3-0 to the Canadians in the third period in Buffalo and came back and won [the U20 gold just a few weeks earlier], 5-3. We talked about the Russian character and how strong we are as a nation."

Continue reading

Just 2:20 later, Olga Sosina gave the Russians a 4-3 lead on a nice deflection on another power play, and the 4,123 pro-Swiss fans could only look on in stunned silence.

The Swiss pressed, however, and with 43 seconds left in the game, Stephanie Marty managed to beat Anna Prugova with a shot during a mad scramble in front of the Russian goal, tying the game and forcing overtime.

At 2:58 of the ten-minute OT, however, Tatyana Burina scored the game winner for Russia, sending the team to the semi-finals. The victory, after being down 3-0, tied an IIHF record for biggest comeback in a WW game, and the Swiss fell to Sweden, 3-2, to end the tournament in sixth place when the chance for a medal seemed so close against Russia.

The loss was a shocker for the Swiss, but from the perspective of women’s hockey, it was a thrilling and entertaining game with a dramatic finish.


Back to Overview