Poulin, Bach spark Canada's scoring burst in 9-0 win over Japan in women's hockey

·4 min read

HERNING, Denmark — Victoria Bach and several Canadian teammates took full advantage of the sustained offensive-zone time Japan gave them in Sunday's 9-0 win at the women's world hockey championship.

Bach scored the first world championship goal of her career on Canada's first shot of the game, set up the first for teammate Emma Maltais and had another assist en route to a three-point game.

Captain Marie-Philip Poulin scored twice and had an assist for the defending champions. Sarah Filler scored a goal and had two assists.

Ella Shelton, Blayre Turnbull, Jamie Lee Rattray and Sarah Potomak rounded out the scoring in Canada's third straight win to start the tournament in Herning, Denmark.

Veteran defender Jocelyne Larocque had two assists to reach 50 career points for Canada. Defender Erin Ambrose also had two assists.

Sixteen players on Canada's roster recorded at least one point in the win.

"It's exciting, but our main goal in that game was just to come out and really stick to our game plan and prepare ourselves for the games ahead," Bach said.

"We did a really good job working on some new things as linemates and as a team overall."

Japan was minus three injured players in its first game against Canada's women in 22 years.

Eight minor penalties, which Canada converted into three power-play goals, made the lifting even heavier for the Japanese, who spent the majority of the game pinned in their own end trying to defend their net.

Canada's goalie Emerance Maschmeyer didn't handle a shot until the final minute of the second period. She repelled the five she did see in her first start of the tournament.

"Definitely a challenging game being in net, waiting for any opportunity, but I knew whenever Japan would get a chance, it would probably be a great scoring chance so I had to stay ready," Maschmeyer said.

"I've had some experience playing those types of games, so luckily I kind of know what to do to stay in it. It's just communicating with my teammates and playing the puck when I can, getting any kind of touches and staying mentally focused. The next shot is the most important shot."

Japan starter Akane Konishi stopped 29 of 33 shots in the first half of the game before reliever Riko Kawaguchi made 31 saves in the back half.

Canada topped Pool A with three wins and caps the preliminary round Tuesday against the U.S., which is unbeaten after two games and meets Switzerland (1-1-0-0) on Monday. Winless Finland and Japan also square off Monday.

The host Danes earned their first win, shutting out Hungary 1-0 in Sunday's lone Pool B game in Frederikshavn.

The top four teams in each pool advance to Thursday's quarterfinals. The semifinals are Saturday followed by Sunday's medal games in Herning, Denmark.

Japan finished a best-ever sixth in last year's world championship in Calgary and posted the same result in February's Winter Olympics in Beijing.

But almost half the roster turned over, which made for a young Japanese team in Denmark with 13 players aged 22 or younger. Japan's trio of injured players Sunday were also veterans of its Olympic team.

The International Ice Hockey Federation's removal of Russia from tournaments because of that country's invasion of Ukraine shifted Japan into Pool A's top five seeds alongside Canada, the U.S., Finland and Switzerland.

Coach Yuji Iizuka said via an interpreter he swapped goalies to give both the experience of playing the No. 1 women's hockey country in the world.

"It's a great opportunity for our development every time we play Canada," Iizaka said. "All the players were very excited to play Canada; it has a lot of meaning and is special. We understand it will be a tough game, but it's a chance to play the world champions."

Canada played its second game in less than 24 hours following Saturday's 4-1 win over the Swiss. The Canadians played penalty-free hockey and dominated the faceoff circle winning 81 per cent of the draws.

"I do like our habits a little bit better tonight," Canadian coach Troy Ryan said. "I didn't think we swayed too far from the things we're going to have to do in other games.

"I liked our puck movement on the power play. Our puck movement wasn't bad in previous games, but today was just a little bit crisper."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 28, 2022.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press