IIHF Womens World Hockey Championships Day 1: Canada Cruises Past Switzerland, Germany Upsets Sweden Again, USA Outworks Host Finland for Third Period Comeback, Japan Blanks France

Jerred Bapty
BarnBurner Sports Writer

@CaptainBapty

Thursday, April 4, 2019


CANADA 6 – SWITZERLAND 0 FINAL

ESPOO, FINLAND – The Canadian youngsters shined in game one, combining for 3 goals and 5 points in a dominant 6-0 win over Switzerland on Thursday. 

University of Wisconsin forward Emily Clark is shooting 100% so far with 2 goals on 2 shots to give Canada a 3 and 4-0 lead early in the 3rdperiod. Clark was also named player of the Game for Team Canada. 

Clarkson University star and Patty Kazmaier Award winner Loren Gabel opened the scoring for Canada just over 9 minutes into the 1st period. 

The two young defencewomen from Cornell University, Jamie Bourbonnais and Micah Zandee-Hart, each had an assist, with Bourbonnais dishing the breakout pass to Brianne Jenner on Gabel’s goal and Zandee-Hart pinching in to keep offensive pressure alive on Clark’s controversial 1st goal. 

Clark was shoved into the Swiss netminder Andrea Brandli by Stefanie Wetli, so it was deemed a good goal upon further review. 

Canada completely controlled the game in almost every statistic. Canada barely allowed Switzerland any time in the offensive zone, giving up just 6 shots against goalie Shannon Szabados and pelting Brandli with 53 shots.

Canada did struggle on special teams, taking 3 stick infractions and going 0/3 on their own powerplay opportunities. 

“I thought we did some good things, but also have some things to improve on,” said forward Natalie Spooner of the Toronto Furies. “Obviously we got some shots and got some goals, but we did give them a few chances that we probably shouldn’t have. But I thought for our first game, we’re going to keep building off that.”

Spooner scored shortly after Gabel’s 1st period goal with the help of her two Furies teammates Sarah Nurse and Renata Fast, and also assisted on Clark’s first goal. 

Szabados gets her 50th career World Championship win and 5th career shutout. 

Captain Canada Marie Philip-Poulin dressed but did not see the ice, similar to what she did for Les Canadiennes de Montreal during the Clarkson Cup Final. She is still nursing that lower-body injury she suffered in the final CWHL regular season game. 

Swiss Captain Livia Altmann was named player of the game for Switzerland, who was part of Switzerland’s top-line that created most of Switzerland’s opportunities.  
Canada prepares for their big matchup against the United States on Saturday April 6th, while the Swiss have another tough task on Friday April 5th against Russia. 

 

USA Dominates Third Period vs. Finland

A 5-goal 3rd period spelled a disastrous collapse for Finland in front of their home crowd in a 6-2 loss to Team USA Thursday evening. 

Down 2-1 after 2 periods, the Americans came out flying in the 3rd and played keep-away with Finland. Melissa Samoskevich tied the game just over 3 minutes into the 3rd before the never-out-of-position Hilary Knight finished off a great forecheck by Hannah Brandt for what would be the game-winning goal. 

Noora Raty had a stellar first two periods in net for Finland but, as the team in front of her fell apart, so did her performance between the pipes. Raty was caught off-guard by weak, redirected shots and cheated hard to her left on the 6th American goal when Annie Pankowski fired an open look past Raty’s right side. 

The 4-time goalie of the tournament became more and more frustrated throughout the game as she kept saving her team from bad giveaways and poor clearing attempts. Coach Pasi Mustonen aggressively pulled Raty on the powerplay with over 5 minutes left, but they couldn’t capitalize. 

17-year-old Elisa Holopainen opened the scoring for Finland just under 9 and a half minutes in, finishing a beautiful passing play in front of USA goaltender Alex Rigsby. 

Newly named USA Captain Kendall Coyne-Schofield tied the game late in the 1st on a 6-on-5 delayed penalty call for Finland before Megan Bozek took a holding penalty. The Americans killed it off but, took a high-sticking penalty in the 2nd that allowed for Petra Nieminen to snipe Finland’s second go-ahead goal past Rigsby and draw a hooking penalty. The Fins didn’t capitalize on that powerplay, which ultimately became their demise. 

The Americans closed out the game by outshooting Finland 45-32, but had 10 penalty minutes to Finland’s 4. 

Knight and Alex Carpenter had a goal and an assist, while Schofield added a pair of assists to her goal for a 3-point night and the USA player of the game award. Brianna Decker led the Americans with 8 shots on net and scored Team USA’s 5th goal. 

Holopainen was named player of the game for Finland to the delight of the over 4000 fans in attendance. 

Both teams have Friday off before two more big matchups. Team USA plays Canada and Finland faces Russia on April 6th for what should be two very exciting games. 

 

Germany Upsets Sweden Again

Laura Kluge was the shootout hero for Germany with a beautiful forehand deke to slide the puck past Swedish netminder Sara Grahn for the 2-1 win. Kluge plays for St. Cloud State University and redeemed herself after taking 3 minor penalties in the game. 

Jennifer Harss was spectacular in the German net, stopping 40 of 41 Swedish shots on net. 

Fans had to wait until the 2nd period for some offense when Sofia Engstrom opened the scoring for Sweden. Emily Nix tied the game about 4 minutes later for Germany and the 1-1 score stood right through until the shootout, despite an overtime penalty kill for the Germans. 

Germany and Sweden opened last year’s World Championships against each other with a 3-1 upset by the Germans and the rematch didn’t go in Sweden’s favour. 

Harss was named Germany’s player of the game for her performance in net, while Engstrom received Sweden’s player of the game award for scoring the lone Swedish goal. 

Both teams get the day off Friday before going back at it on Saturday April 6th. Germany takes on Japan while Sweden plays the Czech Republic. 

 

Japan Blanks France

A 2-goal 2nd period for the Japanese was all they needed to get past France 3-0 Thursday. 

Mei Miura opened the scoring for Japan just over 7 minutes into the 2nd period and 3 minutes later, Ayaka Toko gave Japan a 2-0 lead. 

The French got into some penalty trouble in the 3rd, which allowed Suzuka Taka to score on the powerplay with under 7 minutes left to seal the deal. 

Japanese goalie Nana Fujimoto stopped all 35 French shots as Japan builds on their 6th place finish at the PyeongChang Olympics last year. 

This was France’s debut at the top level of the Women’s World Championships under the new 10-team format and was a good lesson in what it takes to compete at this elite level. 

Japan’s Rui Ukita and France’s Betty Jouanny were named players of the game. Ukita had an assist and 5 shots in over 22 minutes of ice time. 

The French are back at it Friday April 5th against the Czech Republic, while Japan takes on Germany Saturday. 

 

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Twitter: @CaptainBapty

Email: jerred@barnburner.ca

Photo: @IIHF