Thursday, August 25
United States 10, Japan 0
Team USA opened its Worlds campaign with a decisive 10-0 win over Japan, in Japan's first game in Group A play after making the jump from Group B. Patty Kaz winner Taylor Heise (Minnesota) led all players with five points, all assists, in her debut, one day after arriving in Denmark due to COVID-19 protocols. Only five American skaters were held without a point, and the team outshot their opponent by a 62-6 margin.
Kelly Pannek & Rory Guilday opened the scoring with two goals in 1:44, giving the US an early edge less than halfway through the first period. Pannek scored from the edge of the slot, while Guilday ripped a shot through a crowd up the middle of the ice. Caroline Harvey and Hayley Scamurra doubled the lead with two goals in 49 seconds to wrap up the first period. Harvey scored on a backhand from the doorstep, while Scamurra scored on a bar-down shot from below the faceoff dot.
A five-goal second period, including power-play tallies from Hannah Bilka and Abby Roque, put the US in a great position heading into the third period. Alex Carpenter added her second goal of the game early in the final frame to seal the win.
Nicole Hensley made six saves. With Nana Fujimoto out due to injury, Akane Konishi was called upon in net for Japan. She allowed seven goals on 29 shots faced. Miyuu Mashuhara came in before the midway point of the game and allowed three goals on 33 shots faced.
While this was a good opening game for the US, their next game will provide a real test against a tough Finnish team. Expect that game to be much more even-handed.
Hungary 4, Germany 2
This is only Hungary's second year at the top division, but they looked good in their first game of the tournament and rallied back from a 2-0 deficit for the win, which was their second-ever top division victory.
After Luisa Welcke struck first for Germany, Laura Kluge doubled the team's lead on a power-play goal midway through the first period. Hungary responded quickly and then fought back, scoring four unanswered goals to open Worlds with a big win.
Franciska Kiss-Simon played a huge role in Hungary's offense, scoring the team's first two goals of the game, including one on the power-play. Teams exchanged penalties throughout the second period. Kinga Jokai-Szilagyi scored the eventual game-winning tally shorthanded with under five minutes to play in the middle frame. Jokai-Szilagyi's shot deflected off the back of the opposing goaltender's leg and in.
Mira Seregely potted the empty-netter late to seal the win in an overall fairly even game. Germany relied heavily on defenders Tanja Eisenschmid and Katarina Jobst-Smith, who each played nearly 28 minutes. Only one other defender (Carina Strobel) played over 20 minutes.
Aniko Nemeth had 26 saves, while Franziksa Albl stopped 21 shots.
Canada 4, Finland 1
To the surprise of absolutely no one, Marie-Philip Poulin was heavily involved in Canada's offense in Thursday's opener. She assisted on Sarah Nurse's opening goal, then scored a beauty of her own later in the opening frame. She is, of course, Captain Clutch for a reason....
Nurse redirected a point shot from Poulin on the power play, tipping it in front of the net to beat Anni Keisala. Finland was killing off a major penalty handed to Petra Nieminen for checking from behind; she also received a game misconduct. Finland had killed off just over three minutes of the penalty before Nurse's tally.
Julia Liikala, appearing in her second Worlds tournament, tied the game with less than eight minutes to play in the first period. Poulin regained the lead for Canada on a snipe from the middle of the circle to Keisala's left, tucking the puck in far side.
Meaghan Mikkelson, in her return to the tournament, then scored just over three minutes into the second period. Mikkelson's first goal in 2,341 days came on a rebound amid a crowd in front of the net. After the initial shot from Ella Shelton off a pass from Sarah Fillier, Mikkelson was parked in front of the net and pounced on the loose puck.
Blayre Turnbull added an empty-netter in the final minutes of regulation. Overall, Canada took over in the second period, allowed their defense to contribute offensively and wound up outshooting Finland 43-17. To their credit, Finland did a good job staying out of the box - they took only one penalty aside from Nieminen's major and game misconduct.
Finland's captain, Jenni Hiirikoski, is playing in her record 14th Women's World Championships. She led all skaters (from both teams) with 25:13 and had one assist and one shot.
Ann-Renee Desbiens stopped 16 of 17 shots faced, while Keisala had 39 saves.
Sweden 5, Denmark 2
The story of this game, and truly, the difference-maker, was Hanna Olsson. The former HV71 captain recorded a hat trick to help push her team to the win. Olsson is appearing in her fifth Worlds tournament, but this will be her first ever scoring more than one goal. She's set to captain Division-1 Frölunda HC this season.
Denmark's Emma Russell opened the scoring, but Olsson and Sweden quickly responded just thirty seconds later & proceeded to dominate possession. Denmark had to kill off two nearly-consecutive penalties in the second period, which they did successfully - but it wasn't long before Olsson struck again, capitalizing on a rebound.
Another quick penalty to the Danish team spelled trouble this time around, as Maja Nylen Persson gave her team a two-goal lead with under six minutes to play in the second period. Both of the respective team captains, Michelle Lowenhielm and Josefine Jakobsen, scored in the third period, before Olsson completed the hat trick.
In her Worlds debut, 17-year-old defender Mira Jungåker recorded three assists and played 16:25, third-most among Swedish defenders.
The game marked Sweden's first game back at the main Worlds tournament since April 11, 2019. Emma Söderberg (Minnesota-Duluth) had 26 saves in the win.
Coming up tomorrow (Friday, August 26):
- Switzerland vs. Japan - 12:00 PM Eastern
- Hungary vs. Czechia - 12:30 PM Eastern