Canada Lays a Beating on Third-Ranked Finland
Just under three years ago, Finland shocked the hockey world by beating Canada and advancing to the finals of the 2019 World Championship. Canada did not take kindly to that, hitting double digits for the second time in the tournament to win 11-1 to kick off Day 3 in Beijing.
Canada has now outscored the third and fifth-ranked teams 23-2 after two games thanks to massive wins over the Finns and Swiss. Canada had just 18 goals in five games back in 2018, with Sweden (20) being the only team to break out of the teens despite finishing seventh of eight teams.
The game had a very Sarah-like flavor, with Sarah Nurse scoring three and Sarah Fillier recording two. But Brianne Jenner and Natalie Spooner led the way offensively with four points each, highlighted by Jenner’s hat-trick.
But the blowout did not start that way. In fact, after Fillier and Nurse swapped goals early on, Minnamari Tuominen scored at 18:27 to give her team some hope. But the two Sarah’s struck to make it 4-1 by the halfway mark, and by then, the chaos was ready to take shape. Meeri Raisanen allowed seven of the 35 shots she faced for the Finns, with No. 1 Anni Keisala allowing four on 13 shots. Ann-Renee Desbiens was strong at the other end, turning away 28 of the 29 pucks sent her way.
USA Shuts Out Russia to Stay Perfect
Despite a 5-0 win and a 62-12 shot count for the United States over Russia, Saturday’s contest was definitely a bit closer than the overall result may suggest.
The Americans have improved to 2-0 while moving Russia, the fourth-ranked team, to 1-1 after three days of competition.
Russia’s Maria Sorokina was the star of the show. Despite allowing five goals, Sorokina made 43 stops, including many five-bell ones, before being replaced by national team rookie Daria Gredzen. Savannah Harmon scored the opening goal at 12:29, the lone goal of the game, in a period that saw USA control the puck with a 19-2 shot deficit.
Hilary Knight’s goal at 8:51 doubled the advantage, but the score was a bit closer than most would expect. It was not until a third-period onslaught that USA finally took full control of the final score. Grace Zumwinkle scored at 43:57, Jesse Compher added one three minutes later and Alex Carpenter finished off the goal brigade at 48:44, forcing Sorokina out of the crease despite a strong effort.
USA will not need to wait long for its next battle, playing Sunday evening against Switzerland. Russia will play Monday against Canada, who, like the United States, has also had a perfect run thus far.
Danes Lose Big to Japan
Japan is off to a great start to Beijing Winter Games, taking its momentum from a win over Sweden on opening night to beat Denmark 6-2 on Saturday.
The game was lopsided from the start. Japan scored three goals in a three-minute span in the first to chase Cassandra Repstock-Romme from the Danish net with Hikaru Yamashita, Haruka Toko and Rui Ukita doing the damage.
The two teams then traded goals in the first half of the second, but Japan outscored Denmark 2-1 in the final 21 minutes of play to put the game way too far out of reach for a Danish team playing in just its second Olympic contest.
Japan will put its undefeated record on the line on Sunday with a game against a Chinese team riding high after a big regulation win over the Danes. Denmark will get a bit of a rest before playing the Cezch Republic on Feb. 7.
Czech Republic Seeing Deja Vu
The Czech Republic has kicked off the tournament with a pair of 3-1 games, following its win over China with another W over Sweden.
It was a tight affair, with Swedish Emma Soderberg turning away 43 of the 46 shots sent her way. Klara Peslarova was nearly perfect for the Czechs with 23 saves, including a couple of good chances late in the frame.
It was Tereza Vanisova’s shot at 18:23 that broke the deadlock, marking the lone goal of the first half. A giveaway allowed Klara Hymlarova to score shorthanded 33 minutes in in what turned out to be the game-winner. Vanisova scored the only goal of the third period to erase the damage done by Emma Muren’s goal for Sweden late in the second and put the game to rest.
Both teams get Sunday off before the Czechs meet with a winless Danish team in the afternoon game. Sweden plays later that day against the hosts, China.
1. Brianna Jenner, CAN: With three goals and an assist, Jenner stole the spotlight from what was looking like the all-Sarah show at one point.
Maria Sorokina, ROC: An impressive 43-save effort against a high-flying American team will definitely earn you some attention.
3. Emma Soderberg, SWE: Her 43-save effort gave an underpowered Swedish team a fighting chance until the final buzzer.