Canada Crushes Russia, Will Meet USA For Women’s Hockey Gold

By Rahul Vaidyanath, Epoch Times
April 8, 2013 10:31 pm Last Updated: April 9, 2013 6:55 am

OTTAWA—Canada ensured the IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship would have the same gold medal matchup it has had in all 14 years it has been held. The host nation dominated Russia en route to a 8–1 semifinal win on Monday at ScotiaBank Place.

Earlier in the day in the first semifinal, the United States defeated Finland 3–0 with all goals scored in the final period. It was a very tight match that remained scoreless for 53 minutes.

Canada has dominated the IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship winning gold 10 times and beating Russia all four times they’ve met. Team USA has won the other four gold medals. These two strongest teams in the tournament and historically will meet for the gold medal on Tuesday night.

Canada blew the game against Russia wide open with three goals in the first five minutes of the second period after scoring only one on 20 shots in the first period. Russia responded at 10:56 of the second period as a floating shot from Svetlana Tkachyova evaded Shannon Szabados.

But Canada quickly put an end to any Russian resurgence when Jayna Hefford made it 5–1 just 1:22 after Tkachyova’s goal.

“If we put 50 shots up we’re hopefully going to score some goals,” Hefford said. “We know that if we’re patient and we stick with our game plan the pucks are eventually going to go in.” Canada ended up with 49 shots on the Russian goal.

“It’s confidence. Once one or two go in it breaks them down slowly. So we know once that happens we’re going to build on it,” Hefford said.

Canada outshot Russia 20–4 in the first period. After 19 difficult saves, Russian goalie Anna Prugova let in a soft goal to Canada’s Haley Irwin. Irwin’s slow shot slid under Prugova’s glove at 19:14 of the first. Meaghan Mikkelson set her up in the slot after taking the puck behind the Russian net.

Goalie Anna Prugova was Russia’s best player in the first period as Canada peppered her net with shots.

After killing off a roughing penalty to Sarah Vaillancourt at the start of the second period, Natalie Spooner found the net up high on Prugova from a tight angle at 2:03. Then, 52 seconds later, Marie-Philip Poulin scored her first of the game to make it 3–0. Poulin was Canada’s player of the game.

A Jennifer Wakefield slap shot at 4:29 beat Prugova and Canada had the match wrapped up with the score 4–0.

Canada was just too strong for the Russians. The Russians changed their goalie in the third period, but Canada put two more goals past Yulia Leskina in a span of 24 seconds to make it 8–1.

Canada’s Laura Fortino desribed her gold medal opponents as a “very fast, skilled team.”

“We’re focusing on the now,” Rebecca Johnston said. “We have confidence going in. We’ve been playing well, we’ve been scoring lots of goals so hopefully we’ll continue that in the final.”

Follow Rahul on Twitter @RV_ETSports