China – Canada 1-13 (1-5, 0-4, 0-4)
HAMEENLINNA, Finland – Canada dominated China in the opening game of the 2009 IIHF World Women’s Championship with a 13-1 drubbing. Canada out-shot China 76-4 in the game.
The 2008 silver medalist set the tone early, scoring an unbelievable four goals in the first 6:31 of action. At 14:06 China scored on its first power-play chance, but it would prove to be the only offense for the out-matched team.
Rebecca Johnston became the first Canadian player to score twice when she put in two goals in the second period as Canada increased its lead to 9-1 after 40 minutes. In total, nine different Canadian players scored. Sarah Vaillancourt paced all players with five points, while Hayley Wickenheiser and Gillian Apps were the other Canadian players with multiple goals.
Despite the lopsided scored, China did have one glimmer of hope as the both goaltenders put in a brave performance. Yao Shi and Dandan Jia had a combined 63 saves. Shi was the starter and gave up the first seven goals before being replaced mid-game by Jia.
China narrowly avoided relegation at last year’s World Women’s with a last-minute comeback against Germany in their final game. On the other end of the spectrum, Canada took silver last year and has nine World Women’s titles under its belt.
Japan – United States 0-8 (0-4, 0-1, 0-3)
HAMEENLINNA, Finland – The defending World Women’s gold medalist, USA, had no problem opening its title defense, easily topping Japan , 8-0. Hilary Knight and Julie Chu had hat tricks for the Americans in the opening-day victory.
Knight scored two of her goals in the first period and Jenny Potter added two assists as the U.S. climbed out to a 4-0 lead. It was Potter’s 100th assist for Team USA. The Americans dominated the offensive zone in the period as Japan failed to get off a single shot. Overall, Japan was out-shot 74-8.
Japan stopped the bleeding in the second period, holding the Americans to just one goal, but the offense was still non-existent for the eighth-ranked team. Monique Lamoureux scored the lone tally with five seconds left in the period to make it a 5-0 affair.
Julie Chu was quick to increase the American lead in the third, netting the 6-0 goal just 45 seconds into action. Knight completed her hat trick four minutes later and Chu was close behind with her third goal, closing the the scoring with 1:09 left.
The Japan goaltenders split the game as Azusa Nakaoku played the first 30 minutes allowing four goals, while Eri Kiribuchi played the second half, also letting in four. Megan van Beusekom got the shutout in net, but was not really challenged for the honor, facing a mere eight shots.
While the American score wasn’t the high-flying double-digit effort of Canada, both North American nations made it clear today that they are the teams to beat for the top spots at this year’s World Women’s.
Kazakhstan – Finland 0-7 (0-2, 0-3, 0-2)
HAMEENLINNA, Finland – In front of nearly 4,000 fans, Finland opened its 2009 Women’s World Championship with a 7-0 win against Kazakhstan.
The Finns put in a solid team effort with five different players scoring in the victory. Much like the two early games, Finland spent most of the game pressuring the Kazakh net, finishing the game with a 67-8 shots advantage.
Michelle Karvinen gave the fans a reason to cheer just 2:14 into action with the opening tally. After the goal, Kazakh goaltender Darya Obydennova stonewalled the multiple Finnish efforts until Anne Helin doubled the lead with a power-play goal late in the first period.
Finland did most of its damage early in the second period, netting three goals in a nine-minute span. Mari Pehkonen and Nina Tikkinen got the offence rolling with a pair of goals coming 19 seconds apart. Karvinen put in her second goal at the midway mark to make it a 5-0 advantage.
Kazakhstan replaced Obdennova with back-up Natalya Trunova early in the third period, but Trunova was quick to surrender the 6-0 goal as Pehkonen scored her second just 1:50 after the swap. After the goal, Trunova kept the Finnish offense in check, allowing just one more goal, scored by Marjo Voutilianen with 1:38 left in the game.
The Finland win completed the 2008 medal-team sweep as all three of last year’s top teams had no problem in their 2009 debuts. The trio out-scored their opening day opponents 28-1.