Canada glides to 5-0 win
Canada glides to 5-0 win
Swiss succumb but set two hopeful records
The team has won three straight gold medals and looked dominant as ever this afternoon at Shayba Arena.
"I think our team really played well," said Rebecca Johnston, who led all players with a goal and two assists. "We had a lot of good chances. I think we just have to keep going, keep shooting the puck on net, and hopefully a couple more go in. Starting this game, you’re like, ‘Finally it’s here!’ You kind of get a little excited. I think you just have to try to calm down and stay at the same level you need to play well. It is tough. I’m glad our first game went well with that."
Charline Labonte earned her third career Olympic shutout in only her fifth game by blocking all 14 shots. She has now allowed just two goals in her career and sports an 0.40 goals-against average.
At the other end, the shell-shocked Florence Schelling faced 69 shots in the Swiss goal and was sensational from start to finish.
"I’m not sure if it’s the best game I’ve ever played, but it could be," an exhausted Schelling said after. "We’ve known for a while that we would play Canada first, so we’ve had time to prepare ourselves for that, to be ready for what we were going to face. It helped me and all of the team in front of me. They played amazing today to get in the way of the puck and that was key to us keeping it to 5-0."
It was only the second meeting between the nations in Olympic competition, the other coming in Vancouver four years ago, a 10-1 win for the hosts. In Women’s Worlds play, Canada has yet to surrender a goal to the Swiss, compiling a 5-0-0 record and a goals differential of 50-0.Continue reading
There was a silver lining to the defeat, though. First, it marked the smallest margin of victory by Canada over the Swiss. Canada had defeated the Swiss 6-0 at the 1997 Women's Worlds.
And, perhaps more significantly, the scoreless third period today marked the first time ever the Swiss had played shutout hockey for 20 minutes against Canada.
"In the last period, it was 0-0, so we made progress in the game," suggested Sara Benz. "I mean, Canada is better than us, and we knew that. We have to get better. But I think in the last few years, we’ve made a step forward. I think in the last period, we showed that maybe if we were more aggressive and had more self-confidence, we would have been better. We can do that better against the USA."
Like the Americans earlier in the day, Canada struck for the early goal to eliminate Swiss hopes for an upset. Jocelyne Larocque’s point shot went through a maze of players to beat a helpless Schelling at 1:25, but Canada remained relentless.
The period was dominated by the favourites to the tune of a 29-3 discrepancy in shots on goal, although Canada managed only one other goal. A great shift from Rebecca Johnston ended with her shot being stopped by Schelling, but Tara Watchorn, left uncovered at the crease, banged home the rebound to make it 2-0.
Both goals were the players’ first in their first career Olympic game.
"Scoring at the Olympics feels different," Larocque said. "It was my first shot on my first shift, and I’m pretty sure it was my first goal this season. I couldn’t ask for a better start to the tournament. I hope someone kept the puck for me, but if they didn’t, that's okay. I’m sure I’ll remember the moment."
In the second period Canada had fewer shots but more goals. Former captain Hayley Wickenheiser made it 3-0 at 3:54 with a short-handed goal. She walked in alone and beat Schelling with a snap shot off the crossbar and in.
That goal tied her with Cammi Granato for most career goals, Olympics and Women's Worlds combined. Granato had 44 in WW play and 10 in Olympics while Wickenheiser leads all players with 17 in the Olympics to go with 37 WW markers.
The fourth goal was the result of a fine three-way passing play between Jayna Hefford, Johnston, and Marie-Philip Poulin. Poulin was the finisher on the play, scoring her first Olympic goal since the gold-medal game in 2010 when she had both goals in the 2-0 win.
Poulin then assisted on a goal by Johnston, whose shot dribbled off Schelling and over her shoulder and in. But that was all the scoring for the day. Schelling and the Swiss held their owen in the final period, the frist time teams played a period 0-0.
Both teams have the day off before switching opponents with today's afternoon game participants. On Monday it will be Canada and Finland while the Swiss take on the United States.
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