HERNING, Denmark — Victoria Bach and several Canadian teammates made the most of the sustained offensive zone time Japan gave them in Sunday’s 9-0 win at the women’s hockey world championship.
Bach scored her first career world championship goal 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 provided an assist for the defending champions. Sarah Filler scored a goal and provided two assists.
Ella Shelton, Blayre Turnbull, Jamie Lee Rattray and Sarah Potomak completed the scoring in Canada’s third straight win to kick off 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 the Canadian roster recorded at least one point in the win.
“It’s exciting, but our main goal in that game was just to go out there and really stick to our game plan and prepare for the games to come,” Bach said.
“We did a really good job of working on some new things as teammates and as a team in general.”
Japan had three fewer players injured in their first match against Canada women in 22 years.
Eight minor penalties, which Canada converted into three power-play goals, made the lift even more difficult for the Japanese, who spent most of the game trapped at their own end trying to defend their net.
Canada goalkeeper Emerance Maschmeyer didn’t finish a shot until the last minute of the second half. He repelled all five he did see in his first start of the tournament.
“It was definitely a challenging game to be at the net, waiting for any chance, but I knew any time Japan got a chance, it would probably be a great scoring opportunity, so I had to be ready,” Maschmeyer said.
“I’ve had some experience playing those kinds of games, so luckily I know what to do to stay in it. It’s just communicating with my teammates and playing the puck when I can, taking any kind of touches and staying mentally focused. next shot is the most important shot.
Japanese starter Akane Konishi stopped 29 of 33 shots in the first half of the game before reliever Riko Kawaguchi made 31 saves in the second half.
Canada led Group A with three wins and capped the preliminary round on Tuesday against the US, which is undefeated after two games and faces Switzerland (1-1-0-0) on Monday. Finland and Japan, winless, also meet on Monday.
The host Danes earned their first win, defeating Hungary 1-0 in Sunday’s only Group B match in Frederikshavn.
The top four teams in each group advance to Thursday’s quarterfinals. The semi-finals are on Saturday followed by the medal games on Sunday in Herning, Denmark.
Japan finished a best-ever sixth at last year’s world championships in Calgary and recorded the same result at February’s Winter Olympics in Beijing.
But nearly half of the roster turned in, resulting in a young Japanese team in Denmark with 13 players aged 22 and under. Japan’s trio of injured players on Sunday were also veterans of their Olympic team.
Russia’s elimination from tournaments by the International Ice Hockey Federation due to that country’s invasion of Ukraine put Japan in the top five seeds of Group A along with Canada, USA, Finland and Swiss.
Coach Yuji Iizuka said through an interpreter that he swapped goalkeepers to give both of them the experience of playing in the world’s No. 1 women’s hockey country.
“It’s a great opportunity for our development every time we play against Canada,” Iizaka said. “All the players were very excited to play against Canada; it means a lot and it’s special. We understand it will be a tough game, but it’s an opportunity to play against the world champions.”
Canada played its second match in less than 24 hours following Saturday’s 4-1 victory over Switzerland. The Canadians played penalty-free hockey and dominated the circle of matchups, winning 81 percent of ties.
“I like our habits a little better tonight,” Canadian trainer Troy Ryan. “I liked our puck movement on the power play. Our puck movement wasn’t bad in previous games, but it was a little sharper today.”
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 28, 2022.
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