Sara Benz scores twice as Swiss women hold off Japan 3-1

Pyeongchang Olympics Ice Hockey Women_313586

Sabrina Zollinger (11), of Switzerland, checks Shoko Ono (27), of Japan, during the first period of the preliminary round of the women’s hockey game at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) Sara Benz scored two power-play goals, and Switzerland smothered Japan’s quest for its first Olympic victory in women’s hockey Monday with a 3-1 win.

This is the third Olympics for the Japanese, who went winless in 1998 in Nagano and 2014 in Sochi. Forward Rui Ukita sat out, suspended for kicking at an opponent in Japan’s 2-1 opening loss to Sweden.

Japan outshot the Swiss 38-18 and even had a 5-on-3 in the first period. But they couldn’t beat goalie Florence Schelling even with an extra attacker over the final 3:46.

The Swiss got going in the second. Benz scored from the right circle going top shelf at 10:19, and she finished off a breakaway before sliding into the net at 13:10. Alina Muller stole the puck and finished her own breakaway at 4:27 of the third.

Hanae Kubo redirected Mika Hori’s shot for a goal at 7:33, the lone goal Schelling allowed.

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