An exciting weekend of hockey took place in Calgary, Alberta the past three days as the Women’s World Championship kicked off Friday afternoon. While no spectators outside of close relatives are allowed at the WinSport area, these women still brought the intensity you can expect to see at an international tournament with some interesting storylines to evaluate. Here are how the North American teams fared after two games each.
Canada vs. Finland (August 20th – 4 pm MST)
Final Score: Canada – 5 Finland -3
Scorers: Nelli Laitnen (FIN), Minnamari Touminen (FIN), Jamie Rattray (CAN), Marie-Philip Poulin (CAN), Erin Ambrose (CAN), Elisa Holopainen (FIN), Sarah Fillier (CAN), Brianne Jenner (CAN)
Summary: Finland appeared to catch Canada on its heels on Friday night. They scored two early in the game and the home Canadian team did not look like they had much to generate to answer back. It wasn’t until the second period where the Canadians showed signs of life. Jamie Rattray opened up the scoring for Team Canada and 20 seconds later, her teammate Marie-Philip Poulin did the same and they were quickly back into this game.
From then on, Canada pulled ahead in the third period with a beautiful goal by Erin Ambrose. Finland tied it once again but Canada scored where it mattered with a goal to pull ahead and a game securing an empty-net goal.
What Canada lacked most in the first period was discipline. Penalties seemed to roll into each other but as they got used to the officiating and the pace of the game, this became a less pressing issue. By the end of the game, Canada was looking like a force to be reckoned with and much more like their usual selves.
Switzerland vs. USA (August 20th – 7:30 pm MST)
Final Score: Switzerland – 0 USA – 3
Scorers: Brianna Decker (USA), Kendall Coyne Schofield (USA), Grace Zumwinkle (USA)
Summary: The United States put on a shooting clinic against the Swiss with 58 registered shots to their opponents 10. Swiss goaltender Andrea Brandli shut down the American team the best she could but did not receive much offensive help from her teammates.
But the US offence did not come all at once. The US team opened up the scoring in the first period and netted a pair in the second. This game will be recorded as the narrowest US win over Switzerland according to the IIHF tournament report.
Canada vs. Russia (August 22nd – 4pm MST)
Final Score: Canada – 5 Russia – 1
Scorers: Sarah Fillier (CAN), Ella Shelton (CAN), Erin Ambrose (CAN), Melodie Daoust (CAN), Rebecca Johnston (CAN), Olga Sosina (ROC)
Another slow start paired with a strong finish for Team Canada as they go scoreless through the first 20 minutes once again. However, once the production got started in the second period, it never really stopped. Canada put up two goals in the second period and finished up the game with three goals, not really ever giving the Russians a chance to battle back even with their lone third period power play goal.
Canada continued the shooting game of the North American teams, peppering their two opposing goalies with 62 shots. Russia was only able to register seven. Canadian Head Coach, Troy Ryan spoke to the media post-game and said,
“Tonight, we kept doing the little things. Spreading out the offensive zone, having a good net presence. Any time the game got away from us tonight, I thought we were able to rebound.”
We will see if that rebound is a consistent factor that will continue to find success for the Canadians in the remainder of this tournament.
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Finland vs. USA (August 22nd – 7:30 MST)
Final Score: Finland – 0 USA – 3
Scorers: Grace Zumwinkle (USA), Kelly Pannek (USA), Hilary Knight (USA)
Summary: A rematch of sorts for Finland and USA after Finland lost in an overtime heartbreaker in the 2019 IIHF World Championship. Similarly to the Canadian game, Finland came out hungry but it was ultimately Team USA that added to the scoreboard first. Grace Zumwinkle opened up scoring at 14:31 into the first period and her teammates did the same with a goal each in the following periods.
Another deeply skewed shot-heavy game for the US National team that ended with a 39-10 shot advantage for them. This game was also a huge milestone game for one woman on each side of the ice. With Hilary Knight’s third period goal in this game, she ties the record for most goals scored in the Women’s Worlds tournament with 44. On the other side, Jenni Hiirikoski of Finland set a new record for games played in the Women’s Worlds tournament with a whopping 70.
Where They Stand
After the weekend, Team USA and Team Canada sit tied in Group A with two wins and six points. The Canadians officially lead the group as they have a 10:4 goals for/against advantage at this point in the tournament. Here are the rest of the standings for that pool.
Canada: 2-0 (6 points)
USA: 2-0 (6 points)
ROC: 1-1 (3 points)
Finland: 0-2 (0 points)
Switzerland: 0-2 (0 points)
In Group B, Team Czech Republic is the team to watch with a 2-0 record and six points. Both North American teams will be back in action on August 24th as Team Canada takes on Switzerland and Team USA takes on Russia. The highly anticipated match-up between the US and Canada will be on August 26th at 4 pm (MST).