International Ice Hockey Federation

Canada wins (phew)

Shaky start, big save, then the goals came

Published 03.04.2017 19:03 GMT-4 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Canada wins (phew)
PLYMOUTH, MICHIGAN - APRIL 3: Canada's Meghan Agosta #2 celebrates after a first period goal by Jennifer Wakefield #9 (not shown) against Russia's Maria Sorokina #69 while Angelina Goncharenko #2 and Maria Batalova #22 look during preliminary round action at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship. (Photo by Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Shannon Szabados stopped an early breakaway and then Canada got its game going, scoring four times in the first en route to a much-needed win over Russia, 8-0.

Canada made up for a shaky 0-2 start to the 2017 Women's Worlds by skating to an impressive 8-0 win over Russia this afternoon at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth.

"We're a confident team," said Meghan Agosta. "We needed to believe in ourselves and just go out and play hockey, and it showed."

"They were faster than us in the first period, and we didn't play our system," Anna Shokhna lamented. 

Jennifer Wakefield had two goals and an assist and six teammates had two points each.

Szabados earned her first Women's Worlds shutout in four years with 16 saves to her credit.

The win allows the players and management a collective sigh as the team now awaits the result of this evening's game between hosts United States and Finland. A U.S. win would put it on top of Group A with a 3-0 record and nine points. It would also leave Canada, Russia, and Finland tied with three points.

In this situation, a mini-standings between the three teams would then be created of results between the teams. Each team would have a record of 1-1, but Canada would be on top because of a superior goals differential, meaning it would advance directly to the seimi-finals while Russa and Finland would play in tomorrow's quarter-finals. Canada has never failed to advance to the semis.

The nerves were clearly on ice as Canada started the game, and coughing up an early breakaway to Anna Shokhina at the end of a Canada power play didn't help. But Szabados was patient on the deke and made the save, and Canada quickly took some momentum from the play.

"Shannon is an unbelievable goalie," Agosta enthused. "She made some key saves tonight that could have been game changers, but she always comes out on top."

"I was trying to see what the goalie was going to do," Shokhina said after her move to the right didn't pan out. "The puck came free outside our blue line, and I just got to it first and had a good chance."

Jennifer Wakefield opened the scoring at 14:30 on the power play, her slapshot from the top of the right circle going all the way. 

A minute later it was 2-0 thanks to Emily Clark, who slid a loose puck to the far side while goalie Maria Sorokina was down and out.

Just 78 seconds later, Wakefield got her second on another loose puck, and at 18:37 Natalie Spooner capped the period with a fourth goal. It was just the period Canada needed to get its confidence back.

Strangely, Canada got off to a slow start in the second as well, giivng up a 2-on-1 right off the bat and then taking two quick penalties. But after killing 65 seconds of 3-on-5, the team started to take control again.

Erin Ambrose made it 5-0 at 11:01 on a power play, ripping a hard show over the shoulder of Sorokina.

Brianne Jenner, Meghan Agosta, and Sarah Potomak added third-period goals to up the final tally.