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2022 Worlds: Canada overwhelms Japan

A dominate performance by Canada in their third preliminary game

IIHF

Canada beat Japan, 9-0

Group A

The story of the game can be summed up pretty easily, and that’s by the fact that Japan didn’t record a single shot in the game until the final minute of the second period. By then, Canada had 46 shots on net and seven goals as they controlled the entirety of the game.

For Japan, it wasn’t necessarily all bad news. Their defense remained the highlight of the team, which I know sounds weird given the score. But, especially in the first period, they did a solid job of keeping Canada to the boards and disrupting passes. They struggled to establish any kind of pressure of their own throughout the whole 60 minutes, however. Working on playing a full game will be huge for their future.

Japan has also struggled with taking too many penalties. Through three games, they’ve taken 18 penalties. They’re largely penalties that could be avoided too if they kept their feet moving or didn’t rely on using their sticks as they’re taking hooking and tripping penalties by and large. Japan is a fast and small team, and they could definitely avoid some penalties by using that to their advantage.

Thankfully, it hasn’t hurt them as much as it could have as they’ve killed 13 of the penalties (aka they’ve only given up five goals).

Japan also made an interesting goaltender switch just about halfway through the game — putting 17-year-old Riko Kawaguchi in net. Kawaguchi recently won gold with Japan’s U18 team in Division 1 Group A. The game was all said in done by that point (it was 4-0 Canada and Japan had yet to record a shot) so it makes a lot of sense to bring in the young goaltender to get the experience in a fairly “low pressure” game. She finished with 31 saves on 36 shots, just about the same as her counterpart Akane Konishi (29 saves on 33 shots).

They made a push in the third period, with a few odd skater rushes and chances to score, by utilizing their speed. But it wasn’t enough to find the back of the net.

For Canada, they spread the scoring love across the team with an impressive 16 different players finding the score sheet. Captain Marie-Philip Poulin led the scoring with two goals and an assist while Victoria Bach and Sarah Fillier matched her point total with a goal and two assists each as the highest point getters of the game.

The team was firing on all cylinders. They scored on nearly every type of play a coach could draw up. Coach Troy Ryan hasn’t mixed his lines at all this tournament and it's clear they are working well.

Sarah Potomak — back on the National Team for the first time since 2018 — had a highlight reel of a goal as she lifted the puck over the outstretched pad and broke the goal camera with her shot late in the game.

There were a lot of things to like about Canada’s game today and they’ll take the high into their final preliminary game against the US on Tuesday afternoon.

Hungary v Denmark,

Group B