Team Canada and the United States finally could block out everything that went on in the women’s hockey world in the last week and focus on what they could control: their performance on the ice at the 2019 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Espoo, Finland.
Canada 6, Switzerland 0
Canada opened their tournament against Switzerland, a team missing two of its biggest stars. Goaltender Florence Schelling has retired, and star Lara Stalder was not dressed. Andrea Brandli started in goal for Switzerland, and played very well.
The Canadians opened the scoring with two goals in 16 seconds in the first half of the first period. Loren Gabel scored on a blistering wrist shot, followed by Natalie Spooner doubling the Canadian lead. The score remained the same through 40 minutes despite Canada holding a 32-6 shot advantage.
The third period was even more dominant for Team Canada. They scored four goals to make it a 6-0 final and outshot the Swiss 21-0. Shannon Szabados stopped all six shots in the win. Emily Clark scored the third and fourth goals followed by one by Jamie Lee Rattray. Blayre Turnbull rounded up the scoring. All Canada goals were at even strength.
Marie-Philip Poulin was dressed and in uniform, wearing the ‘C’, but did not take to the ice. Canada coach Perry Pearn has said that she will play in the tournament but with four round robin games, and potentially three playoff round games, there is no rush. Mélodie Daoust took Poulin’s spot at centre between Rebecca Johnston and Ann-Sophie Bettez.
USA 6, Finland 2
The scoreline doesn’t do the Finns justice in this one. Finland had a 1-0 and 2-1 lead in this one, the latter heading into the third period. Elisa Holopainen and Petra Nieminen scored for the Finns, while Kendall Coyne Schofield scored for the Americans.
However, Team USA turned it on in the third period scoring three goals in 4:28 and five goals total in the period. Melissa Samoskevich tied the game 3:10 into the period, followed by Hilary Knight pouncing on a loose puck after a Finland turnover to fire one past Noora Räty to give the Americans their first lead of the game.
Alex Carpenter, Brianna Decker, and Annie Pankowski scored the remaining goals. Alex Rigsby made 21 saves for Team USA, while Räty made 39 saves on 45 shots.
The two North American rivals will have Friday off before they face each other on Saturday at 12:00 p.m. The game will be shown on TSN and RDS in Canada and NHL Network in the United States.