- Team Czech Republic upset Switzerland 3-1. Switzerland played well against Japan and Nana Fujimoto, winning 4-2, in the first day of the tournament. The Czechs weren't expected to beat any of the teams handily that had been in the top division for some time, but they triumphed in what ended up being a special teams battle, killing all but one penalty that was awarded to them, and putting up two PP goals on Florence Schelling.
- Sweden beat Japan 2-0; the Japanese offense only mustered 16 shots, but the usually-solid Sara Grahn was perfect. Nana Fujimoto stopped 30 of 32. Pernilla Winberg scored the game-winner, unassisted, early in the third period. The Swedes later added a PPG from Emma Eliasson.
Team Canada obliterated Russia 8-1. Charline Labonté had 12 saves. While Russia scored the first goal, Canada started the second period with a vengeance and by the end of 40 minutes had racked up a 6-1 lead, and added their final two goals in the third period. Canada played an incredibly undisciplined final frame though, and were whistled for five consecutive minor penalties. Rebecca Johnston picked up where she left off after the Clarkson Cup Final, with a goal and three assists. Her goal was the game-tying tally that got Canada rolling:
In addition, Marie-Philip Poulin scored her first of the tournament; Meaghan Mikkelson and Halli Krzyzaniak scored twice; and Emily Clark and Jennifer Wakefield added goals. Maria Sorokina, in net for Russia in relief of Anna Prugova, stopped Mikkelson with an amazing save on a penalty shot:
As for Team USA, they pulled out an incredibly tight 2-1 win against Team Finland. Michelle Karvinen scored first for Finland, taking a nifty pass 2-on-1 from Riikka Välilä and burying it behind Jessie Vetter.
Finland played a very strong trap game to minimize scoring chances on Meeri Räisänen, but after that first goal, their offense was unable to get going as they simply waited for Team USA to make mistakes -- and while the Americans made plenty, they were also fast enough to make sure that they didn't pay for many of them. Altogether, Räisänen kept the Finns in the hunt, stopping 49 total shots. She allowed the tying goal off a deflection to Hilary Knight, and her only other lapse was the game-winner by Jocelyne Lamoureux, which was set up by two perfect passes from Shiann Darkangelo and Annie Pankowski. Team USA's power play continues to be a concern; they went 0 for 5 against Finland and never looked dominant. Finland's strength is their defense and they had a strong PK and an even better goaltender, but scoring on the power play will be crucial for Team USA once the prelims are over.
The WWC teams have the day off today. Tomorrow the Czech Republic faces Japan at 4:00PM Eastern/1:00PM Pacific; USA faces Russia at 6:30PM Eastern/3:30PM Pacific; Sweden faces Switzerland at 8:00PM Eastern/5:00PM Pacific, and Canada faces Finland at 10:30PM Eastern/7:30PM Pacific.
(Photo credit: IIHF Hockey/Twitter)