HERNING, Denmark — Ann-Renée Desbiens became the first Canadian goalkeeper to face and save a penalty kick at the Women’s Hockey World Championship in a 4-1 victory over Finland in the tournament’s opening match on Thursday.
The Clermont, Quebec, native preserved Canada’s 2-1 lead by stopping Kira Yrjnanen’s attempt late in the first period.
“It was huge,” fullback Meaghan Mikkelson said. As soon as the penalty kick was awarded, I turned to Jocelyne Larocque and told her that he was going to make the save. She loves this kind of moment. »
Marie-Philip Poulin and Sarah Nurse each had a goal and an assist for Canada, defending champions of the event after their triumph in Calgary last summer.
Bulldozer with time and a screen
Mikkelson and Blayre Turnbull, with an empty goal, also scored at the Kvik Hockey Arena in Herning, Denmark. Desbiens saved 16 shots, including a penalty at a key moment.
Desbiens parried Yrjanen’s shot with his right foot after a good feint from the Finn.
“It was a move that you rarely see in a game. Probably something you see more often in practice, Desbiens said. I stayed patient to be ready whether she shot from the backhand or brought the puck to the other side. »
Canada will face Switzerland on Saturday and Japan on Sunday.
Julia Likala scored the only goal for Finland, a bronze medalist at the Beijing Olympics last February and at the last World Cup in Calgary last summer. Anni Keisala made 39 saves.
“We’re not very happy with the way we played,” Canada head coach Troy Ryan said. Our first period was not very good. The second was acceptable and the third, probably between the first and second. But that was only the first match of the tournament. »
The Finns were 1-for-5 on the power play but were unable to capitalize on four straight minutes with an extra player, including ten seconds in five-on-three, late in the second period and early in the third.
Mikkelson capitalized on a comeback after Ella Shelton’s shot to make it 3-1 for Canada at 13:01 of the second period.
The 37-year-old winger is back with the national team after knee surgery and a lengthy rehabilitation that kept her out of the Olympics last winter.
Poulin scored with a nice wrist shot at 15:51 to give Canada a 2-1 lead.
Likala had tied the match at 12:07 of the first half, taking advantage of a late comeback on the power play.
Five minutes into the game, forward Petra Nieminen was penalized a major and a game misconduct for a hit from behind against Kristin O’Neill.
Nurse scored on the power play at 7:38, redirecting a Poulin pass on goal.
Finland defeated Canada 4-2 in the 2019 World Cup semi-finals, before losing on penalties to the United States in the final. Since then, Canada has won all five of its matches against Finland.
Earlier in the day, the United States posted an easy 10-0 victory over Japan. The Americans had a great first period hitting the goal four times before adding five more goals in the middle period and another net in the third period.
The United States took an impressive 62 shots in the game. Japanese goalkeepers Akane Konishi and Miyuu Masuhara made 22 and 30 saves respectively. On the American field, goalkeeper Nicole Hensley wasn’t too busy with just six shots directed at her.
Alex Carpenter scored two goals and more to add an assist, while his teammate Taylor Heise finished the game with five assists. Amanda Kessel and Kendall Coyne Schofield also finished the game with three points.
In addition to Carpenter’s two goals, the Americans’ goals were scored by Caroline Harvey, Hannah Bilka, Amanda Kessel, Lacey Eden, Kelly Pannek, Abby Roque, Hayley Scamurra and Rory Guilday.
The United States’ next game is Saturday against Finland.
Three goals from Olson in Sweden’s victory
Hanna Olson took Sweden’s attack on her shoulders with three goals as the Swedes secured a 5-2 victory over Denmark in Group B.
Denmark opened the scoring after only 1:21 of play in the first half. Emma Russell put her team in charge by hitting the mark.
Denmark’s lead, however, only held for 30 seconds. Olson responded with his first goal of the match to tie the game.
Midway through the second period, Olson gave Sweden a 2-1 lead, before seeing teammate Maja Nylen Persson double the lead 21 seconds later.
Michelle Lowenhielm and Olson scored in the third period for Sweden, while Josefine Jakobsen shook the ropes for Denmark.
In the win, Swedish goalkeeper Emma Soderberg made 26 saves.
It was Hungary’s first day in Group B. The Hungarians came from 2-0 down to claim a 4-2 win over Germany, the country’s first win against the Germans.
It was only the second meeting between the two nations at the highest level of the Women’s World Championship.
From the first half, Germany took control of the match thanks to goals from Luisa Welcke and Laura Kluge. Before the end of the opening period, Hungary closed the gap when Franciska Kiss-Simon hit the goal.
Kiss-Simon charged again in the opening moments of intermission to bring everyone back to square one.
Then, before the end of the second half, a goal from Kinga Jokai-Szilagyi gave Hungary control of the match.
Mira Seregely ended the Germans’ comeback hopes with an empty goal goal with nine seconds remaining in the game.
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