Hockey’s Three Stars from Olympic Day 1

Sara Hjalmarsson, Alina Muller

Throughout the entire 2018 Winter Games, NBC Olympics staff will select three stars to spotlight special performers from each day’s competition.

 

FIRST STAR:

Alina Muller, Switzerland: The 19-year-old forward was the breakout star of day, tying an Olympic record with four goals in Switzerland’s 8-0 romp against the unified Korean team. Muller struck quickly in her first game during the 2018 Winter Games, scoring twice in the opening period. At 10:23 of the first period against Korea—with her team down a skater—she sneaked a shot under the goaltender’s glove to tally her first goal of the tournament.

Just under three minutes later, Muller buried a one-timer to give Switzerland a two-goal lead, and she scored her third with 12 seconds left in the first period. It only took a minute and a half in the second for her to grab a fourth goal.

She added two assists in the final period for good measure to finish the night with six points.

 

SECOND STAR:

Sara Hjalmarsson, Sweden: The Swedish forward tallied the game-winning goal at 1:53 of the third period in the opening match of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. Erika Grahm was able to force a turnover in the offensive zone, and deliver a beautiful backhand pass to set up Hjalmarsson.

“It is great to get a win in the first game,” Hjalmarsson said. “The game went back and forth a lot. In the third period, we got off to a fast start and kept going hard.”

 

THIRD STAR:

Sara Benz, Switzerland: Muller may have grabbed the headlines with her four-goal night, but Benz was Team Switzerland’s creative force against Korea. She dished out three assists, recording her third as Muller completed her natural hat trick. Christine Meier found Benz in the slot in the final seconds of the first period, and Benz passed to a wide-open Muller who was waiting in the crease for an easy tap-in.

 

HONORABLE MENTION:

It was a special moment to see a combined Korea team take the ice under unified flag. Following up on the Opening Ceremony where Korean athletes marched side by side, the players took it upon themselves to keep momentum rolling in the right direction.

 

Oliver Jung contributed to this report

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