It was a game in which the numbers spoke volumes. Shots favoured Canada, 56-11, and Emerance Maschmeyer had but one tough save to record her first Olympic shutout in her second career game. Brianne Jenner and Sarah Fillier both registered hat tricks, while captain Marie-Philip Poulin and Sarah Nurse both had four assists each. In all, 16 of 19 Canadian skaters had at least one point.
"It was a great team effort," enthused Poulin. "Everybody contributed, and everybody was ready to go. It was a later start for us tonight, but I'm very happy how we came out. Every game is different, and obviously we haven't played Sweden in a long time. It was a good game where we showed up and we were ready to go right away in the first period, and we're really happy with a power play and PK."
Canada has now outscored its opponents by a whopping 44-5 margin through five games, and if you look at the tournament scoring table you'll see Canadians in the top seven poistions and nine of the top ten. Natalie Spooner leads the way with 13 points and is hot on the heels of Hayley Wickenheiser's 2006 Olympic record of 17.
"I don't think it matters how many goals we're scoring as long as we're coming up with the wins," said forward Blayre Turnbull. "The goal is to win the gold, but being able to score so many goals and score in so many different ways gives us confidence. It shows that everything we've practised throughout the season is paying off."
Fillier agreed: "I don't think we set out every game to hit double-digit goals. We're playing within our system, and our system is to produce offence. We're just burying the puck at a pretty efficient rate. We take every game as seriously as if we were playing the U.S. It doesn't matter who we are playing, whether it's a semi-final, quarters or round-robin; we're trying to play the best hockey that we can."
Sweden came into the game with goalie Emma Soderberg having played every minute for her team, giving up just seven goals. And as a team, they hadn’t surrendered a goal on the penalty kill. That all changed tonight. Soderberg gave up nine goals in 40 minutes and the team allowed four power-play goals on the first four Canada chances.
"They're a very good team," Michelle Lowenhielm said, "and we have a lot of players who haven't played a game like this. I think we've just got to learn from this and continue building, continue working on the small details and get experiences like this and do it better next time. I'm still proud of this team and what we achieved. Yes, we want to do better. We want to do better in a game like this, but I'm still behind every single player in this team. I'm proud we got this far."
Canada dominated the opening and were rewarded with a goal at 3:05 off the stick of Jenner. After lengthy possession in the Swedish end, she took a pass from Marie-Philip Poulin at the side of the net. Jenner cut in front and fanned on her shot, but she got a second crack at it when Maja Nylen-Persson failed to take the body. It was Jenner’s tournament-leading sixth goal.
Jenner had an incredible chance to score again midway through the period when Canada created a two-on-the goalie. Poulin made the pass but Jenner’s quick shot was stopped by Soderberg, who stretched her glove as far as she could. But that sequence led to Canada’s first power play, and they connected.
Sarah Fillier took a pass from Rebecca Johnston, and her shot squeezed under the glove of Soderberg against the post and trickled in at 13:05. Fillier scored again just 36 seconds later, her seventh of the tournament to eke by Jenner for the lead. This time she took a slap-pass from Jamie Lee Rattray. Fillier’s tip wasn’t going to go in, but it hit the back of Soderberg’s right skate and slid in to make it 3-0.
And then came a fourth goal, the icing on the cake. Rattray wired a shot over Soderberg’s shoulder on a power play with just 24.1 seconds left in the period, putting the game out of reach after 20 minutes.
Maschmeyer's only tough save came on a Sweden power play when Felizia Wikner-Zienkiewicz had a great chance if front, but the Canadian goalie got her pad out to make the excellent save. As it turned out, that was Maschmeyer's only tough shot of the game.
Out of reach as the game was, Canada continued to play the way it needs to if it hopes to win gold. They weren’t trying to run up the score so much as make the right decisions at every chance. The result was five more goals in a six-minute span of the second period, two more of which came on the power play.
Spooner scored at 3:16, snapping in the rebound of a Sarah Nurse shot. Two minutes later, Poulin made the pass of the tournament, wiring a hard puck the full width of the ice to Erin Ambrose. She controlled it, and put a bullet over Soderberg’s glove.
Ambrose then made a great pass of her own, skating behind the net and passing it to the back side where Blayre Turnbull had an open net. Poulin did it again at 8:13, finding Jenner with another sensational pass for the eighth Canadian goal. And then Emily Clark, on the power play, found a loose puck in the slot and fired a shot that ricocheted several times before finding the twine.
Midway thrugh the third Canada hit double digits courtesy of Jenner's hat trick goal off a nice feed across the crease from Micah Zandee-Hart. The goal was allowed by Ida Boman, who came in to start the third in relief of a beleaguered Soderberg.
A minute later, Fillier scored her third of the game, and both she and Jenner were back atop the goalscoring leaders with eight each.
Sweden can be proud for having qualified for Beijing, and the young team full of future talent will now make its next goal to win its way back into the top pool of the Women's Worlds. For now, they lick their wounds and go home, while Canada keeps its eyes on the big prize.