BURLINGTON – Team USA took another small step in its quest to win four Women’s World Championships in a row, going all out to beat Russia by an 9-0 score. Amanda Kessel and Hilary Knight led the attack with two goals.
In all, eleven players had at least one point, while goalie Jessie Vetter got the easiest shutout of her career, stopping only five shots all night. Kendall Coyne had a goal and three assists while Amanda Kessel (2+1) and Brianna Decker (1+2) had three each.
The win guarantees the U.S. one of the two byes to the semi-finals. Russia, meanwhile, is winless in two games and plays Canada on Tuesday while the Americans conclude the round robin with a game against Finland.
"After last night's big win, it would have been easy for us to be comfortable tonight, but the coach really made sure we stayed focused today," said Monique Lamoureux-Kolls who leads the tournament in goals (4) and points (8) after two points tonight. In fact, the top six scorers are all American.
The game’s outcome was never in doubt. The Americans drove hard into the Russian end from the opening faceoff and didn’t come out until Hilary Knight had scored and the faceoff held again at centre ice.
Goalie Anna Prugova was busy and sensational, and the only other shot of the period that eluded her was a point-blank drive from Kessel who converted a nice pass from behind the net by Kendall Coyne.
It was more of the same in the second. The U.S. made it 3-0 on a nice short-handed goal, a backhand from Monique Lamoureux-Kolls. It was her fourth goal and seventh point in the young tournament, both tops among all players.
Kessel closed out the scoring in the middle period with a nice shot in the final minute, by which point shots were 35-3 for the Americans in a 4-0 game.
"Good things happen when you put the puck at the net, but tonight we had more sustained pressure than last night," said Lamoureux-Kolls. "We moved the puck really well."
Coach Valentin Gureyev decided to insert backup Valentina Ostrovlyanchik for the final period, and it took but 54 seconds for the Americans to end her perfect game. Knight did the damage, and her teammates counted four more in another one-sided period.
"The fans are like having an extra player on the ice for us," Kessel noted of playing a tournament at home for a change. "Having the crowd behind us has been unbelievable."