February 13th happened to be the fourth day of women’s hockey at the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang. It also happened to be the second day of Group A’s Preliminary Round, which meant that Canada took on Finland in the Kwandong Hockey Centre at 1:40 AM CT and then The US faced the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) at 6:10 AM CT.
Canada v Finland
Canada got a quick start to this game when Melodie Daoust intercepted a pass before flying up center ice with the intent to shoot, only to pass at the last possible second so that Meghan Agosta beat goaltender Noora Räty on the backdoor just 35 seconds into the game. Susana Tapani earned an illegal hit penalty at 3:32, which Finland had to kill, and then Natalie Spooner went for the same at 5:22 with matching results.
Halfway through the period Rosa Lindstedt nearly scored on Shannon Szabados, but hit the post instead. At 11:10 Jennifer Wakefield had to sit for slashing, but Finland was unable to convert on the power play. Jenni Hiirikoski lost the puck in the left circle, but before she could grab it Marie-Philip Poulin swooped in, snatched it, and tossed it into goal over Räty at 17:11. Isa Rahunen took a holding penalty at 18:52. On this power play it looked like Rebecca Johnston scored at 19:02, but the goal was waved off and the Finns killed the last of the penalty second period.
Daoust’s goal from the right circle at 8:19 of the second was not waved. Laura Fortino and Agosta assisted. Canada took a team penalty at 15:17, which Jennifer Wakefield served, but Finland was unable to do anything with it as their offense was heavily suppressed through the first two periods. Near the end of the period Johnston passed up to Jillian Saulnier and she tore down the center before knocking the puck in on the doorstep at 18:26. The period ended with Emily Clark in the box for slashing at 19:43.
Shortly after Clark finished her sentence Sara Sakkinen went for an illegal hit at 2:22. Finland killed it and finally got some offense going. This resulted in Riikka Valila’s goal, assisted by Tapani and Michelle Karvinen, at 7:17. However, any hopes of a comeback were quickly squashed by Szabados and penalties on Roja Savolainen, illegal hit at 8:08, and Linda Valimaki, cross-checking at 10:10. Räty was pulled fairly early at 16:12. Finland used their timeout at 18:43 and ultimately put Räty back in goal at 19:53. After outshooting them 32 to 23 Canada won 4-1, crushing any hopes of a Finnish upset.
US faced the Olympic Athletes from Russia
The US went with Nicole Hensley in net, while the OAR went with an even younger goaltender than in their last game, nineteen-year-old Valeria Tarakanova. First period was a fairly quite one, with shots 7-2 in the US’s favor. Hilary Knight nearly tipped in Megan Keller’s point shot early in the first, but Tarakanova managed to grab the puck right out of the air before it crossed the goal line. A few minutes later Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson made a cross zone pass to Kacey Bellamy in the right circle and she shot through traffic to score at 8:02. Gigi Marvin had the second assist. Kendall Coyne earned a holding penalty at 13:41, which the US killed.
Second period had a quiet start with few shots on goal, but once the US got going, they put up 24 in this period alone. Nina Pirogova took a cross-checking penalty at 7:32, which the US could not convert on. Instead Lamoureux-Davidson scored an even strength goal off a pass from her sister, Monique Lamoureux-Morando, at 11:46. Lamoureux-Davidson went on to break an Olympic record for fastest two goals when she scored six seconds later at 11:52 with an unassisted breakaway goal that involved faking out Tarakanova. Lamoureux-Davidson spent the rest of the game pushing for the hat trick, but did not succeed.
To finish off the concerted team effort of every American on the ice, Marvin buried the puck at 14:38. Amanda Pelkey and Meghan Duggan had the assists. As the US now had a 4-0 lead in 27 shots, Tarakanova was replaced in goal with Nadezhda Morozova before play resumed. The OAR then had to kill off a pair of penalties on Maria Batalova, first slashing at 15:04 and then high sticking at 18:44.
The US put an additional 19 shots on goal third period, while only allowing the OAR 4. Not much of it translated into the official play-by-play though, as Morozova did a solid job blocking shots. Eventually it looked like Hannah Brandt had scored on her own rebound, but the goal was waved off due to a hand pass. Then late in the period Dani Cameranesi was tripped in the OAR’s left circle leaving the puck loose, so Brandt swooped in and banged the puck home at 18:23. She got to keep this one and Keller had the second assist. When the final buzzer sounded Hensley not only had a shutout, but the team in front of her had outshot the OAR 50-13 in the US’s smashing 5-0 victory.
The next game is actually in less than two hours at 9:10 PM CT when Sweden plays Switzerland. Tomorrow, February 14th, Japan and Korea play at 1:40 AM CT. Group A finishes their preliminary games starting with the US meeting Canada at 9:10 PM CT on February 14th and then continuing into the 15th when Finland and the OAR face off at 1:40 AM CT.