Sara Benz strikes twice in Swiss win over Japan


Sara Benz and Team Switzerland danced their way to a 3-1 victory against Team Japan Sunday at Kwandong Hockey Center.

Benz, 25, registered two power-play goals as the Swiss improved to 2-0-0 in the preliminary round and secured a spot in the quarterfinals.

Alina Muller also lit the lamp, her tournament-leading fifth goal.

Japan played excellent team defense, limiting the high-powered Swiss offensive attack to only one shot in the first 20 minutes. Goaltender Nana Fujimoto made 15 saves in her second straight start but the Japanese have been eliminated from medal contention.

Benz, who picked up three assists in Switzerland’s first game against Korea, flipped a wrist shot over the glove of Fujimoto at 10:19 of the second period to break a 0-0 tie.

Less than three minutes later, Benz converted a breakaway to give Switzerland a two-goal advantage. Swiss defender Christine Meier delivered a perfectly placed saucer pass to send Benz off to the races. Phoebe Staenz also assisted on the play.

Hanae Kubo redirected Mika Hori's shot at 7:33 of the final frame as Japan prevented Florence Schelling from picking up her second shutout of the tournament.

Schelling made 37 saves, including seven in the first period before her team picked it up offensively. 

Switzerland will face Team Sweden it its final game of pool play Feb. 14th at 2:40 a.m. Japan, 0-2-0, will square off with Team Korea at 7:10 a.m.