Sunday, August 22 | 4 p.m. MT | Calgary, Alberta | Preliminary Round
TV: TSN | TSN Direct
Right back to action at the 2021 IIHF Women’s World Championship,
Canada’s National Women’s Team takes on ROC in its second preliminary-round game Sunday night, looking to
build on its tournament-opening win.
For those who maybe haven’t followed along, ROC is the team representing
Russia, which is not allowed to use its name or flag
as per sanctions levied as a result of a years-long doping scandal.
Canada started Group A play with a nervy
5-3 win over Finland on Friday night. Down 2-0 less than seven minutes in, the Canadians got
goals from Jamie Lee Rattray and Marie-Philip Poulin 20 seconds apart late
in the second period to get even, and got the winner from Sarah Fillier in
the third to earn the three points. Canada dominated on the shot clock,
finishing with a 44-11 edge – including 36-5 over the final 40 minutes.
ROC opened its schedule with a 3-1 victory over Switzerland, getting goals
14 seconds apart from Valeria Pavlova and Viktoria Kulishova to turn a
one-goal deficit into a one-goal lead midway through the second period.
Maria Batalova added an insurance marker with less than three minutes left,
and Valeria Merkusheva made 19 saves in the Russian goal.
The teams faced off for bronze at the 2019 women’s worlds, with Canada
bouncing back from its shock semifinal loss to the Finns to score
a comfortable 7-0 win. Loren Gabel scored twice, Erin Ambrose and Jamie Lee Rattray added a goal
and an assist apiece and Geneviève Lacasse made six saves for the
Canadians, who held Russia shotless in the second period – the third time
in the tournament (and second against the Russians) it had not allowed a
shot in a period.
WHAT TO WATCH
The Canadians have had to play catch up in both games in Calgary; they
allowed an early goal to Finland in a 4-1 pre-tournament win, and spotted
the Finns a quick two-goal advantage in their opener (see above). Both
games ended with the Canadians on top, but better starts will be crucial as
the tournament goes on.
Major milestones are within reach for a couple of Canadian veterans;
Natalie Spooner needs four points to become the 14th player to reach 100
points with Canada’s National Women’s Team, while Marie-Philip Poulin is
eight away from becoming just the seventh member of the 150-point club.
It is a quick turnaround for the Russians, who will return to the ice less
than 22 hours after their win over Switzerland ended. How will their bodies
bounce back against a rested Canadian team, which didn’t practice Saturday?
A LOOK BACK
From their first meeting at 1997 IIHF World Women’s Championship, the
Canadians have dominated the head-to-head history, winning all 24 games and
outscoring the Russians 195-14. Canada has never allowed more than one goal
in a game, and has given up only two in the last seven.
Including in those 24 meetings are 11 at women’s worlds; Hayley
Wickenheiser posted a career-high six points (two goals, four assists) in
a 12-1 preliminary-round win in 2012, and Poulin potted a pair as part of a five-goal second period in
an 8-1 semifinal victory a year later.
All-time record: Canada leads 24-0
Canada goals: 195
ROC goals: 14