BEIJING (Reuters) – Under-manned Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) claimed a plucky 5-2 win over Switzerland in their women’s ice hockey opener at the Beijing Winter Olympics on Friday, despite having six players in isolation after positive COVID tests.
The ROC needed to call up two additional players for the contest but had more than enough fire power to see off a Swiss squad still reeling from a 12-1 trashing from Canada on Thursday.
Polina Bolgareva had a hat-trick to lead the ROC while Yekaterina Dobrodeyeva and Anna Shibanova also found the back of the net.
While the Olympic flames has yet to be lit the fifth ranked Swiss suddenly find themselves looking at an early end to their medal chances after back-to-back losses.
It was an impressive performance by the ROC with the entire team placed in quarantine following the positive tests and only able to have one practice before their game.
“We were more than excited just to step on the ice and play,” said ROC assistant captain Alexandra Vafina. “That was a pretty hard time we came to the Olympics and we had to stay in our rooms without opportunity to practice and it was hard.
“We got all together and stayed positive and took the opportunity we had.
“We are waiting for them (team mates) and hope they will join us soon.”
Diana Farkhutdinova, Angelina Goncharenko, Olga Sosina, Yekaterina Nikolayeva, Liana Ganeyeva and Lyudmila Belyakova were all missing from Friday’s starting list but the ROC will be hoping to see some back for key contests against defending gold medal winners the United States on Saturday and Canada on Monday.
“Now all the healthy players we have are on the roster and as for the isolated players who tested positive I need to get the detailed information,” said head coach Yevgeni Bobariko.
With the Beijing Games opening ceremonies taking place later on Friday China provided some fireworks of their own scoring three unanswered goals to claim a 3-1 win over Olympic debutants Denmark to even their record at 1-1.
After Malene Frandsen had given Denmark a 1-0 lead China got a pair of goals from Canadian born Lin Qiqu and another from American born Lin Ni.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Beijing. Editing by Shri Navaratnam)