Canada off to the semis
by Andrew Podnieks|11 APR 2024
photo: Matt Zambonin/IIHF
Renata Fast scored twice as Canada overcame a stubborn and determined Sweden team to win, 5-1, and advance to the penultimate round of the playoffs.

The win keeps Canada's all-time record against Sweden perfect, now 12 wins without a loss and sets up a likely date with Czechia on Saturday.

"We had some great moments at both ends of the ice," said Canada's starting goalie Emerance Maschmeyer. "Sweden is a physical team and they like to get in the way. They did a good job of that, but we just stuck with our game plan. It's wasn't the prettiest win, but we got through."

"We started a little slowly and gave up a couple of goals, but then we settled down and created some chances," said Swedish forward Josefin Bouveng. "Of course, they have some of the best players in the world, and they showed it today. We have a young team, but I'm just disappointed we couldn't have gone further."

Canada got off to an ideal start, scoring twice in the first six minutes. Fast opened the scoring at 2:25 off the rush when she came hard in on goal and slide the puck through Emma Soderberg’s pads. 

Three minutes later, they struck again off a turnover in the Sweden end. Blayre Turnbull knocked Ida Carlsson off the puck as she tried to bring it out, and Laura Stacey was right there to pick it up. No sooner was it on her stick than it was off it, a laser beam headed to the far side at 5:29.

Undaunted, Sweden got back into the game with a power-play goal midway through the period. Sofie Lundin made a great pass from the side of the goal to 17-year-old Hilda Svensson in the slot, and her quick shot beat Maschmeyer under the glove to give Sweden some momentum and confidence. It was Svensson’s team-leading fourth goal of the tournament and third with the extra skater.

Try as they might, Canada couldn’t extend their lead as Sweden skated with them, checked them, and played more or less evenly with them. Lina Ljungblom had an excellent chance to tie the game when she came out of the penalty box, took a breakaway pass, and went in alone on Maschmeyer. The goalie got the better of her, though.

Moments later, Sofie Lundin wired a shot ff the post, and those two close misses cost them. Fast got her second of the night at 8:11 when her high, long shot through traffic found the corner, making it a 3-1 game and giving Canada a bit of breathing room.

Natalie Spooner gave Canada a 4-1 lead at 13:56 of the third thanks to some stellar spadework from Emma Maltais. She hounded and pestered the Swedisah defence until she came up with the puck, then fired a pass out front where Spooner snapped a low shot past Soderberg.

Just 66 seconds later, Jaime Bourbonnais threw a long shot on goal that found its way, and the 5-1 lead was now safe.