2024 Worlds Recap: USA Dominates Japan in Quarterfinals, 10-0

Three Team USA players notched their first goals of the tournament in the blowout win against Team Japan.

2024 Worlds Recap: USA Dominates Japan in Quarterfinals, 10-0
Alex Carpenter celebrates one of her goals against Japan with linemates Kendall Coyne Schofield and Hilary Knight. Photo courtesy of the IIHF.

It was a night of firsts as Team USA took care of business last night, utterly dominating Japan by a final of 10-0. Alex Carpenter led the way with four points, while Joy Dunne scored her first senior national team goal. Two others also notched their first goals of the 2024 tournament.

Two players also hit a big milestone last night. Hilary Knight and Kendall Coyne Schofield both passed Caroline Ouellette for second all-time in assists at the IIHF Women’s World Championships. They ended the night with 46 assists apiece, three behind Canadian hockey legend Hayley Wickenheiser for the all-time lead.

Moving onto the game, the goals started early. Lacey Eden banged a no-angle shot off a defender and into the net for her first of the tournament just over four minutes in.

Despite allowing an early goal and being outshot 7-0 before they registered one, Japan held up fairly well early on. They did a good job of clogging up the slot and keeping the Americans to the outside, and goaltender Riko Kawaguchi did what she could to keep her team in it for as long as possible.

Hilary Knight extended the U.S. lead about four minutes later, burying an Alex Carpenter feed from one knee while three Japan players converged on her.

Finally, Alex Carpenter rang one in off the crossbar to make it 3-0 USA and cap off the first period scoring nearly twelve minutes in. 

To the surprise of no one, the U.S. was firmly in control of the game after 20, leading Japan 3-0 while outshooting them 24-3. That said, Japan did their best to keep themselves in the game by collapsing defensively to alleviate some pressure on Kawaguchi.

The U.S. exploded offensively in the second despite getting fewer shots. Japan was clearly getting tired so their collapse game wasn't as strong, and they couldn’t keep the U.S. at bay any longer.

Kirsten Simms kicked off the second-period scoring with a nice move to tuck it around Kawaguchi just 1:05 in.

Abbey Murphy quickly added another after a great passing sequence 94 seconds later.

Joy Dunne soon whacked home a rebound for her first senior national goal to make it 6-0 at 8:19. Japan then swapped out Kawaguchi for Miyuu Masuhara.

About four and a half minutes later, Murphy became the first to crack Masuhara after banging home her second of the night. At that point, shots were 34-8 USA.

Tessa Janecke soon got her first goal of the tournament after getting several chances earlier in the game.

34 seconds later, Caroline Harvey made it 9-0 off a slick Carpenter feed. Japan still only had eight shots on goal.

Britta Curl got the first and only penalty of the game when she went for holding with just under two minutes remaining in the second. Japan did not register a shot on goal during the power play.

The second period ended (mercifully, for Japan) with the U.S. leading 9-0 and outshooting Japan 38-8. They stopped celebrating their goals much after the sixth one and also started passing more than shooting.

Given the lopsided score, I figured we would see Nicole Hensley take over for the third period to allow Aerin Frankel to get some extra rest (not that she was overly taxed this game). After all, in my preview, I even brought up dressing third goaltender Gwenyth Phillips to allow her to get her feet wet should the U.S. run away with the game before the third. However, Frankel remained in goal for the Americans.

The U.S. continued to pass more than shoot throughout the third period. However, Carpenter capped off the night’s scoring at 5:25 after firing a beautiful shot into the top corner for her second of the evening.

The U.S. then carried on content to continue their puck possession game, although Japan did manage to get six shots on goal in the third before the final buzzer rang on their tournament. Team USA took this one by a final of 10-0 while outshooting Japan 48-18.

Overall, there’s not a whole lot to say about this game. Team USA was expected to dominate and they did in all facets. However, to give credit to Japan where it's due, they hung in there through the first and then kept trying to battle until the final buzzer sounded. Ultimately, the Americans were just too good for them to handle for long. 

The United States is set to play Finland in a semifinal matchup at 3 p.m. EDT on Saturday.