Day three of the Sochi 2014 Olympics featured a pair of Women’s Ice Hockey games, including Team U.S.A. vs. Finland and Team Canada vs. Switzerland. For the past several years, international women’s hockey has come down to a battle between the Americans and the Canadians for women’s hockey supremacy. Both games on Day Three in Sochi featured some early scoring and a barrage of pucks at the net.
First up were the speedy Americans and the flashy Fins. Just 53 seconds into the first period, Hilary Knight opened up the scoring on a breakaway for the Americans as she blasted a wrist shot top corner against Finnish net minder, Noora Raty. The U.S. dominated the offensive zone as they outshot Finland 15-3 in the opening frame.
In the second period, the Americans really started to showcase their speed, as they continued to harass the Finnish goaltender. Kelli Stack and Alex Carpenter both added goals in the second period to give the American’s a 3-0 lead.
In the third period, Finland found the back of the American net thanks to a power play goal by Susanna Tapani. Despite their push in the third period, team Finland were unable to close the gap against the Americans as Team U.S.A. held on to win their opening match of the Sochi Olympics 3-1. Team U.S.A. demonstrated why they are one of the favorites to reach the gold medal round, as they outshot Team Finland, 43-15.
Day Three’s second match of Women’s Ice Hockey at Sochi featured Team U.S.A.’s North American rivals, Team Canada as they faced off against Team Switzerland. Team Canada came into the Sochi in hopes of winning their fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal.
While they did not score quite as quickly as the American’s did, just 1 minute and 25 seconds into the opening period, Jocelyne Larocque gave Canada an early 1-0 lead against Switzerland. Tara Watchhorn added a goal of her own in the first period to give Canada a two goal lead heading into the second period.
The Canadians continued to dominate in the second period and it was the Canadian captain and Olympic flag-bearer, Hayley Wickenheiser who added a shorthanded goal to give the Canucks a 3-0 lead. Wickenheiser came into Sochi with 16 goals and 30 assists in 21 career Olympic games. The Sochi Olympics are Wickenheiser’s fifth trip to the winter Olympics, where she was won four gold medals and one silver.
Marie-Philip Poulin and Rebecca Jonhston also contributed goals of their own in the second period as Canada opened up a 5-0 lead. That would be the final score as Finland could not crack the Canadian defense and Charline Labonte held on for the shutout for Canada. The Canadians completely controlled the pace of the game and gave Swiss goaltender, Florence Schelling a very tough night as they outshot the Swiss 69-14.
Both the American and Canadian women’s ice hockey teams are favorites to advance to the gold medal round this year in Sochi, and they both showed why on Day Three of the Olympics. The two North American teams combined to outshoot their opponents by an impressive 112-29.
By Eric Kummel