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Canada survives first period scare, back on track with win vs Russia

After a slow start, Canada woke up and avoided the upset

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

After 20 minutes, I could only imagine what was going on in Canada's dressing room. The shots were 13-7 Canada, but Russia scored a goal that deflected twice before beating Charline Labonté. It was the first lead Russia has ever had over Canada in the women's world championships, and quite possibly, beyond that.

But whatever Canada talked about between periods worked. Rebecca Johnston converted a shorthanded three-on-two rush and went five hole on Russian goaltender Anna Prugova in the period's opening minute.

Johnston added three more assists to finish with a four point night. Two of those assists came in the next 3:02 as Canada turned it on, and chased Prugova from the game.

The nicest goal of the game came from Jennifer Wakefield, who missed a glorious chance in the first period, but more than made up for it in the second period.

In all, Canada would score five goals in the first 5:20 of the second period to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 5-1 lead. It was 6-1 after the second period. Defenders Meghan Mikkelson and Halli Krzyzaniak both scored twice in the frame. Mikkelson was also denied on a penalty shot when a Russian defender covered the puck in the crease.

"I think after the first period they were playing a bit of a trap so we just kind of talked in the dressing room and as a defensive corps and said that we needed to skate the puck a little bit more," Mikkelson said. "Obviously, putting a couple in the net is always a plus so I think that we just always try to do our job first and the offence is a bonus."

"I think it was definitely nice to get the monkey off my back the other day and after that I think I just have a little bit more confidence shooting and we’ve had a lot of great screens in front and a lot of people creating traffic for me so it’s worked out really well," Krzyzaniak said.

The first period was a reminder that the gap is closing between teams at the world stage. Finland took an early lead over the United States, and held the game to a 2-1 game despite being badly outshot.

Marie-Philip Poulin and Emily Clark scored for Canada in the third period. Brianne Jenner had four points on the night playing with Johnston and Jennifer Wakefield as Canada changed their lineup slightly after the loss to the US. Labonté rebounded from the opening goal (which was not her fault) and didn't allow another goal on her 14 shots.

Jamie Lee Rattray and Tara Watchorn played while Brigette Lacquette and Sarah Davis sat out. Canada's last preliminary round game is tomorrow against Finland. If Canada wins, they receive a bye to the semi-final round.