These past three days have brought the world of hockey phenomenal games. The USA and Canada both remain undefeated. Team USA got back-to-back shutouts with two different goalies and have held their opponents to only 12 shots on goal. Team Canada scored 17 goals across two games. There was also the first shootout of the Olympics. It was a big few days in women’s hockey.
Canada v Finland
Shot Count: Canada: 48 Finland: 29
Canada: Sarah Nurse (3), Brianne Jenner (3), Laura Stacey (2), Sarah Fillier (2), Jamie Lee Rattray (1)
Finland: Minnamari Tuominen (1),
Takeaways: Team Canada is a wagon. They are the biggest threat and rival to team USA and yet how can you not love watching them regardless of nationality. They are offensively dominant, and they absolutely control whatever ice surface they are on. However, while the Canadians beat Finland by a greater score than the United States, the USA held Finland to only 12 shots. Compared to the American’s shot count, the shot count indicates that Canada plays a much more open game that allows them to generate offense at such an impressive rate but not be as dominant on the shot clock. Finland is really looking for that bronze spot after being absolutely stomped by both the USA and Canada.
USA vs. Russia Olympic Committee (ROC)
Shot Count: USA: 62 ROC: 12
USA: Savannah Harmon (1), Hilary Knight (1), Grace Zumwinkle (1), Jesse Compher (1), Alex Carpenter (1)
Takeaways: The USA scored five goals from five players and kept ROC limited to 12 shots on goal. This USA team is incredibly deep and incredibly well rounded, being solid on offense and defense. They play a gritty and tiring physical game and have more speed and skill than many other teams in the tournament. Jesse Compher scored her first-ever Olympic goal in this game, showing that the young guns and the stars can put up points for team USA. In their game against Switzerland, ROC got a lot of their goals in tight to the net; the USA prevented them from finding that space, keeping the shot and goal count low for the ROC. Nicole Hensley also posted a shutout, an awe-inspiring feat on the world stage. It was an excellent game for the USA.
Denmark vs. Japan
Shot Count: Japan: 42 Denmark: 20
Japan: Hikaru Yamashita (1), Haruka Toko (1), Rui Ukita (1), Ayaka Toko (1), Akane Shiga (1), Haruna Yoneyama (1)
Denmark: Mia Bau (1), Josefine Jakobson (1)
Takeaways: Japan continues to establish itself as one of the teams to beat in Group B. They have yet to play the only team considered above them in Czechia. However, they have been winning against the teams they should be beating. Denmark has still yet to get their first Olympic victory, but it is a good sign that they are getting 20 shots and managing two goals.
Czech Republic (Czechia) vs. Sweden
Shot Count: Czechia: 46 Sweden: 28
Czechia: Klara Hymlarova (1), Tereza Vanisova (2)
Sweden: Emma Muren (1)
Takeaways: Czechia continues to be the favorite to make it out of Group B. They have bested each of their opponents convincingly. However, their offense has not managed to score more than three goals. With Canada, the USA, and the ROC all scoring over 4 goals in at least one game, if Czechia wants to compete with Group A teams, they need to produce more on offense. Sweden is still struggling to win in this tournament which they will need to advance. This Swedish group does not appear as strong as similar teams in years past.
USA vs. Switzerland
Shot Count: USA: 66 Switzerland: 12
USA: Hilary Knight (2), Jesse Compher (2), Kelly Pannek (2), Amanda Kessel (1), Dani Cameranesi (1)
Takeaways: The USA posted back-to-back shutouts with two different goalies, against the ROC with Nicole Hensley and against Switzerland with Alex Cavallini. Part of that success has to be attributed to the USA’s defensive efforts; they have not allowed more than 12 shots against in the entire tournament. They had three different players with 2 goal nights, including Jesse Compher, who scored her first Olympic goal last game. It says impressive things about the United States offensive depth, especially after losing Brianna Decker to injury for the rest of the tournament. They scored twice in nine seconds to make the game 3-0 in the first. Switzerland has not registered a win yet in the tournament and has suffered two brutal losses at the hands of the USA and Canada. Even against the ROC, the Swiss, despite only being outshot by one, lost 5-2.
Canada vs. ROC
Shot Count: Canada: 49 ROC: 12
Canada: Sarah Nurse (1), Sarah Fillier (1), Jamie Lee Rattray (1), Erin Ambrose (1), Rebecca Johnston (1), Marie-Philip Poulin (1)
ROC: Anna Shokhina (1)
Takeaways: This game was delayed because team ROC failed to produce their Covid-19 results. Because of this failure, the game was played in masks. That just added to the intense difficulty of the highest level of international hockey. Canada continues their dominance in women’s hockey with this victory tying the USA for first with a record 3-0. This victory is significant since the Toronto Star the same day published an abomination of a click-bate article that declared women’s hockey unworthy of being in the Olympics. Team Canada continues to prove how talented and deserving women’s hockey players are. Team Canada continued the pattern of beating the same teams as the USA by a greater score, but the other team has managed to either score more or get more shots. Canada only allowed 12 shots like the USA, but they also didn’t get a shutout like team USA. This suggests that the USA plays a tighter defensive style to Canada’s more open offensive style, which comes in waves. The ROC needs to pick up their play if they want a shot at bronze.
China vs. Japan
China Wins in the Shootout!
Score: 2-1 S/O
Shot Count: Japan: 33 China: 29
China: Hu Baozhen (1), Mi Le (shootout winner)
Japan: Akane Hosoyamada (1)
Takeaways: China took down Japan, which had been playing incredibly. After their first loss to Czechia, China has now won two straight. Impressive goaltending and defense on both ends managed to keep the games 1-1. China might need to be concerned about offense as they have failed to score more than 3 goals all tournament.