United States dominates to reach semifinals
by Ameeta VOHRA|12 APR 2024
photo: @ International Ice Hockey Federation / Matt Zambonin
The United States gave the home crowd something to cheer about as the team earned a 10-0 shutout victory over Japan in their quarter-final game at the 2024 IIHF Women's World Hockey Championship in Utica, New York.

The host were in total control of the game and dominated in all facets of the game. Their top line of captain Hilary Knight, Kendall Coyne Schofield and Alex Carpenter continued to find magic together on the ice.  Carpenter and Abbey Murphy also led the United States with a pair of goals.

“That top line is inspiring; they're truly such good leaders on and off the ice," Murphy says. "They set the pace and it’s truly so fun watch them and do things that just no one else can show. It's cool for us younger kids, to just learn from them and inspire. It’s so awesome.”
Lacey Eden would get the United States on the scoreboard 3:59 into the first period.  From a tough angle, the forward launched the puck towards the net.  On the way, it went off a Japanese defender and it was redirected through a five-hole to give the host team the lead.

With 11:25 remaining in the period, United States' top line got to work.  Carpenter passed the puck to Knight who was right in front of the net.  Before she was hauled down, Knight blasted the puck past the left side of Japanese goaltender Riko Kawaguchi to increase the team's lead in front of the roaring crowd.

About three minutes later, Carpenter would get her fourth goal of the tournament.  Kendall Coyne Schofield passed the puck and it hit the skate of Japan's Remi Koyama.  Carpenter pounced on it and quickly released the puck for the score.

The United States continued to fire on all cylinders.  Only 1:05 into the second period, Hayley Scamurra recovered the puck and drove it into Japan's zone.  She glided the puck over to Taylor Heise who connected with Kirsten Simms.  The forward beat Kawaguchi to extend the United States' lead to four goals.

Abbey Murphy scored another goal for the United States only 1:26 apart from the last score.  Hannah Bilka sped into Japan's zone and got in front of the net.  She passed the puck to Keller and sent it over to Murphy, who ripped the puck into the net.

Almost halfway through the period, Joy Dunne scored her first goal of the tournament.  Eden sped around the Japanese zone and came out to the front of the net.  As she did that, she connected with Dunne who banged it into the net for the score.

After the United States' sixth goal, Japan opted to swap goaltenders.  Miyuu Masuhara came in to replace Kawaguchi at net.

With 7:06 remaining in the second period, Murphy would get her second goal of the night as she went backdoor on Masuhara for the score. Tessa Janecke who assisted Murphy on that score, launched the puck into the net with 3:50 left in the frame to add to the lead.

However, the United States was not done yet.  Carpenter sped up the boards and passed the puck at the mid-line for defender Caroline Harvey who got it past Masuhara for the score with 3:16 remaining in the period.

Japan would go on the power play to end the second and begin the third period but the team was not able to muster much of an opportunity against a strong special teams unit.

The United States would get into the double digits for scoring in the third period.  Coyne Schofield fed the puck to Knight who backhanded it over to Carpenter.  The veteran forward made no mistake in getting it into the net for her second goal of the night at 5:25 of the frame.

One of the crucial reasons the United States has enjoyed success is their defensive unit, anchored by Harvey,

"They're awesome and they try not to let anything behind them so we trust them with every little bit," Murphy says.  "Caroline's honestly awesome to watch fun little. You know what she's going to pull out so it's cool to watch, but especially all them [defence] back there. You have faith in them that they're always going to do the right thing.”

The two Japanese goaltenders faced tremendous pressure throughout the night as they collectively faced 48 shots on goal.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game coming in," defender Akane Hosoyamada says.  "It's not like we didn't have scoring opportunities, so we could have capitalized on those. You know they're not going to let that happen. We need to create those chances more and put the pucks on net.”

Overall, Japan has mixed feelings about whether the team reached their goals. However, they are leaving Utica with tremendous positives.

“We wanted to get first seed in the Group B or first or second seed," Hosoyamada says.  "It was up to chance for us. It really dependent on the other team for us to get into third place. It was important to get those first and second seeds, but in the end, we won the game against Denmark. That was really good for us. We're coming back in Group A next year or the top division next year, so we're going to rebuild and come back stronger.”

“The whole tournament is getting bigger and bigger every year. I think just for us to experience this in the United States too with the PWHL and the hockey world is growing. That's important for the country of Japan to build off of that.”