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2022 Worlds: Aug. 25 recap

How the first day of actions shakes out!

Team USA’s Hannah Bilka celebrates a goal.
IIHF

The 2022 World Championships tournament kicked off today in Denmark with four games.

USA beat Japan, 10-0

Group A

After a bit of a sloppy first period, it was all Team USA all the time as they cruised to 10-0 win over Japan. Nine different Americans scored, with Alex Carpenter being the lone multi-goal scorer. The true story of the game was the newcomers though. In their first senior games, forwards Hannah Bilka and Lacey Eden and defender Rory Guilday found the back of the net for their first goals. Forward Taylor Heise - who was named USA’s player of the game - had five assists. Goaltender Nicole Hensley got the start and only saw six shots all the game, stopping them all.

The US came out a little shaky to start the game, which was in stark contrast to Japan’s extremely crisp, and precise passes, something the team is known for. The Americans failed to score on either of their two power plays (something that has plagued the team in the past). There were times when Japan controlled the pace of play almost, putting three shots on Hensley. The last minute of the period seemed to be the precursor for the rest of the game though as the US scored twice in 49 seconds.

The second and third period was more like what most people expected the game to be like. Team USA dominated on all ends of the pucks, scoring five goals in the period. The first two goals of the period by Eden and Bilka came 41 seconds apart and the final two of the period by Alex Carpenter and Amanda Kessel came 29 seconds apart.

Of note off the ice, per the broadcast, head coach John Wroblewski and Heise were away from the team due to COVID and assistant coach Josh Sciba and goaltender Aerin Frankel are expected to join the team on Aug. 26 due to COVID.

Goal Scorers:

US: Kelly Pannek, Rory Guilday, Caroline Harvey, Hayley Scamurra, Lacey Eden, Hannah Bilka, Abby Roque, Alex Carpenter, Amanda Kessel, Carpenter
Japan: n/a

Hungary beats Germany, 4-2

Group B

IIHF RECAP

We have our first upset of the tournament!!

In the 2021 tournament, Hungary played only one game - their final game against Denmark. This year, they came out of the gates storming, winning their first game of the tournament.

Goal Scorers:

Hungary: Franciska Kiss-Simon, Kiss-Simon, Kinga Jokai-Szilagyi, Mira Sergely (EN)
Germany: Luisa Welcke, Laura Kluge

Canada beats Finland, 4-1

Group A

A penalty by young Finnish star Petra Niemenen in the first period that led to her ejection may have cost her team the game, as the Finns were unable to mount or sustain offense to match Canada’s firepower. Canadian goalie Ann-Renée Desbiens was only called on to make 12 saves, most of them early, and managed 11 of them. Finland started off looking a little bit outmatched but still very much in the game, but as time wore on they seemed more and more lost. With Niemenen back, they’ll hopefully get some more confidence in their offense and put up a better showing in future games. Canada, meanwhile, were very much the defending champions, with impressive performances across the board from long-time greats, veteran players, and rising young talent.

Canada came out to a strong start, putting up sustained pressure in the Finnish end before the Finns finally managed a brief counterattack about two and a half minutes in. While the Canadians went back on the attack after that, Sarah Nurse took a penalty below the goal line, giving Finland the first power play of the game.

A good clear and some neutral zone defense from Canada prompted Niemenen to check Kristin O’Neill into the boards while she was in a vulnerable position, a penalty that left O’Neill slow to get up and Niemenen out with a major penalty and a game misconduct. As we covered in our Finnish team preview, Niemenen is a huge part of the Finnish offense, and when playing a team with the offensive power of Canada, that’s an even more impactful loss.

The remaining 4-on-4 passed without incident, and Canada went on the attack. Great passing between Jocelyne Larocque and Sarah Fillier didn’t get anywhere, but a subsequent Larocque setup eventually allowed Nurse to score with almost two minutes still left in the major, putting Canada up 1-0.

Finland got a clear, and Noora Tulus harried the power players for a bit, giving her goalie a much-needed break, before Canada regained the zone. As the teams returned to even strength, Nurse took her second penalty of the game. While the Finnish power play didn’t look as coordinated or as confident as the Canadian one, as it expired, Desbiens gave up a rebound while way over to one side and Julia Liikala took advantage to tie the game at 1.

Canada countered ferociously, with Marie-Philip Poulin pouncing on a cross-ice pass in the neutral zone to score almost before the Finns even realized she was in the offensive zone. Canada regained the lead, 2-1. It was Finland’s turn to counterattack, but they couldn’t hold the zone for long, and Canada soon pushed back again.

With 1.6 seconds left in the period, Elisa Holopainen broke in alone and drew a penalty shot. The shot was taken by Kiira Yrjanen; unfortunately for the Finns, Desbiens read Yrjanen’s fake correctly and made the save, with Yrjanen tripping over her stick and going sprawling in the aftermath.

The Canadians again came out strong, forcing Anni Keisala to stay sharp for a small eternity. While there were a few brief breaks in the relentless pressure, there wasn’t anything as helpful as another Canadian penalty, and the clears Finland was able to get didn’t last long. Larocque and Poulin were once again conspicuous, but Keisala made the saves she had to.

Almost halfway through the period, Finland finally got some much-needed OZ time, but before long Canada was back on the attack. Thirteen minutes into the period, defender Meaghan Mikkelson scored off another great Fillier pass to put Canada up 3-1. This time, the Finns were barely able to mount a counterattack at all before Canada regained the puck and then the zone.

With the period almost over, Sarah Potomak threw an illegal hit, putting Finland back on the power play. The Canadian penalty kill looked fantastic, starting off aggressive against a disheartened Finnish power play and getting multiple shorthanded chances—forward Emma Maltais was especially noticeable in a good way.

Finland got an OZ faceoff with a two-skater advantage when Nurse took her third penalty of the game while on the penalty kill, but they were unable to score on that, and the period ended with about a minute left on the second Finnish power play. Canada killed it off to start the third period, and then got a power play of their own as Poulin drew a tripping penalty from the Finnish goal-scorer Liikala.

Keisala came up big more than once on the penalty kill, and then Viivi Vainikka drew an illegal hit from Blayre Turnbull to give Finland another chance with the skater advantage. Despite some motion on the power play, they too were unable to score, and once the teams returned to even strength Canada went back on the attack yet again.

Canada’s Mikkelson then took a penalty of her own, giving Finland yet another power play. Again, the Canadian penalty kill held firm, despite some desperation efforts by the Finns, and after Mikkelson was released from the box Canada went back on the attack like they were down by two goals instead of leading by two.

With 1:42 remaining, Finnish head coach Juuso Toivola pulled Keisala for the extra skater. Seconds later, Turnbull capitalized on a messy play at the faceoff and scored into the empty net to put Canada up 4-1.

Goal Scorers:

Canada: Sarah Nurse, Marie-Philip Poulin, Meaghan Mikkelson, Blayre Turnbull
Finland: Julia Liikala

Sweden beat Denmark, 5-2

Group B

IIHF RECAP