International Ice Hockey Federation

Patient U.S. wins again

Playmaking gems swamp Russia, 7-0

Published 01.04.2017 18:42 GMT-4 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Patient U.S. wins again
PLYMOUTH, MICHIGAN - APRIL 1: USA's Brianna Decker #14 skates to the bench with teammates after scoring a third period goal against Russia during preliminary round action at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship. (Photo by Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Team USA scored three goals in the second period--two by Jocelyn Lamoureux-Davidson--en route to an impressive 7-0 win over Russia.

The theme of the day was quick, crisp passes and nice touch around the goal. Kendall Coyne and Brianna Decker had two goals and two assists each while Monique Lamoureux chipped in with three assists.

Maddie Rooney, making her first career start in goal for Team USA, made 14 saves to record the shutout.

"It's so much different than college," a beaming Rooney said. "It was really exciting. I just loved it out there. When you don't have so many shots, it's important to try to stay focused, and I think I did that."

"We know if we move our feet and get going a lot of teams can't keep up with us," Decker said. "All our lines are moving the puck well and getting shots on net."

The win gives the U.S. six points to top the Group A standings and virtually assures the team of a bye directly to the semi-finals next week.

Russia falls to 1-1 and has three points in Group A. But for a bit of luck and touch around the opposition goal, though, this might have been a different game. The Americans were their usual speedy selves, but they did allow several odd-man rushes and good scoring chances to the Russians.

"We had a bit of a slow start but picked it up in the second and third," Coyne admitted. "We worked together as a team and it was a fun game to play."

"We have to learn from this and play better the next game," Russian Iya Gavrilova said. "We still have a long way to go in this tournament."

The Russians started the game by clogging up the middle of the ice, and for most of the opening period that strategy worked. Momentum changed near the end of the period, though. Russia had a two-man advantage for 1:29 but could do nothing with it, and soon after the Americans returned to full strength drew first blood.

The goal came at 18:37 thanks to Amanda Kessel. Monique Lamoureux had a clear break and was stopped by Maria Sorokina, but Kessel followed up on the play and jabbed the rebound home.

The second period was loaded with action and plays around the goals. Olga Sosina set up Yekaterina Smolentseva for a great chance alone, but Rooney squeezed the pads and made a nice save. Soon after, Gavrilova was also denied by the goalie off an odd-man rush.

The Americans increased their lead at 12:08 on a similar pass-and-shoot combination. Brianna Decker came in on the rush and made a nice dish to the middle for Coyne. Coyne made no mistake, burying the puck for a 2-0 lead.

Less than a minute later, Lamoureux-Davidson wired a great shot over Sorokina's glove, making up for a great toe save by the goalie on her a short time earlier. 

Nina Pirogova had a clear break soon after, but she was thwarted by Rooney, who wasn't always busy but who was tested by tough shots all the same.

"We had a lot of chances that period," Gavrilova said. "It would have been nice to put a couple in. It would have been a different game. We played well in the first as well, but we have to play more disciplined."

The Americans salted the game away with a fourth goal with only 28.3 seconds left in the middle period, Lamoureux-Davidson making a nice deke before tucking the puck into the open cage.

Brianna Decker added a fifth goal at 9:15 of the third, this off another fine pass from Hilary Knight to set up the clear shot.

Coyne and Decker added their second goals in the final minute to boost the final tally.