Hockey

Rod Perry - Thursday Feb. 20, 2014 09:21 ET

Switzerland storms back to steal bronze from Sweden in women's hockey

1st ever Olympic medal for Switzerland

Sweden, Switzerland
Emma Eliasson (22) of Sweden reacts as Sara Benz (13) of Switzerland celebrates with teammate Laura Benz (21) after scoring a third-period goal during the women's bronze medal game Thursday at Bolshoy Ice Dome. (Harry How/Getty Images)
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The Swiss women were down, but never out of it.

And now Switzerland has its first ever Olympic medal on the strength of an inspiring performance against Team Sweden.

Switzerland stormed back to edge the Swedes with four third-period goals in a 4-3 victory in the bronze-medal match at Thursday at Bolshoy Ice Dome.

Switzerland’s previous best Olympic finish in women's hockey was fifth at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

Jessica Lutz, Sara Benz and Phoebe Stanz scored for Switzerland, while Alina Muller added an empty-netter for the Swiss — that turned out to be the winner — which came back from a 2-0 third-period deficit to earn the hard-fought victory.

Star goaltender Florence Schelling was just that, making 28 stops, keeping her country in the game after a lethargic start.

Erica Uden Johansson, Michelle Lowenhielm and Pernilla Winberg scored for Sweden, which now hasn’t won an Olympic medal since a silver in 2006.

Johansson lamented her team's loss, acknowledging the Swedes let one slip away.

"It absolutely sucks," she said. "I just feel like [crap] right now and I feel we should have won. We played so well in the beginning, but we changed something and they took advantage of it."

Swedish goalie Valentina Wallner made 22 saves in the loss. Cecilia Ostberg and Maria Lindh chipped in with two assists apiece.

Lethargic start

The Swiss sleepwalked through the first while being outshot 10-1. They watched the Swedes take an early 2-0 advantage through two periods.

Sweden opened the scoring on a spectacular behind-the-back pass from Osterberg that was finished by a diving Lowenhielm, who tipped it in past Schelling.

Schelling was the biggest reason the Swiss were only down by one after the first. Early in the second she made several spectacular saves – including a breakaway attempt – on several point-blank chances by the Swedish forwards.

But in the third it was Sweden that was lulled to sleep, unable to withstand the Swiss attack and surrendering the lead.

Wallner was at a loss in describing what went wrong for her team. 

"We had control of the first two periods but I don't know what happened in the third," she said. "There were some mistakes from myself and my team. I am really disappointed."

Switzerland outshot the Swedes 25-21 for the rest of the game.

Canada will clash with the U.S. for the gold medal (streaming live at cbc.ca/olympics, noon ET).

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