Adam Williams – Kamloops This Week
Canada last surrendered a preliminary round goal to Russia in the 2012 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Burlington, Vt.
The goal didn’t much matter — Canada went on to win the preliminary round matchup 14-1.
History nearly repeated itself at Sandman Centre.
Canada rallied from a 1-0 first-period deficit to defeat the Russians 8-1 in their second game in as many nights in Kamloops on Tuesday.
The victory came on the back of a second period that saw the Canadians find the net five times in the span of 4:40, erasing Russia’s lead and chasing starting netminder Anna Prugova from the crease in front of a ecstatic crowd of 4,453 fans.
“We just needed to get that first goal,” said Canadian forward Rebecca Johnston, who got the scoring starting 40 seconds into the second period.
“We had a lot of good chances in the first period so I think going into that second period, we weren’t down on ourselves. We knew we just had to just keep getting shots on net.”
The tournament hosts will take the day off Wednesday, but will return to action at Sandman Centre on Thursday, facing off against Finland in their final preliminary round game
Puck drop is 7:30 p.m.
Johnston’s shorthanded goal seemed to open the floodgates for the Canadians in the second period. Halli Krzyzaniak scored her first of two goals a little more than two minutes later and Jennifer Wakefield added a third Canadian marker on a breakaway, despite being hauled down by a Russian defender in the process.
Wakefield’s goal signalled the end of Prugova’s night — she was replaced by Maria Sorokina, whose fortunes didn’t get any better.
Just seconds into her appearance, Sorokina surrendered a pair of goals to Meaghan Mikkelson, both markers just 38 seconds apart. All told, the Russian lead had evaporated in a span of 4:40 in the second period and Canada led 5-1.
Krzyzaniak’s second goal came with Canada on the power play in the waning moments of the second frame.
“Definitely the fastest two goals of my career,” Mikkelson said with a laugh.
The defenceman nearly made it three, stymied on a penalty-shot opportunity — after the game she wasn’t sure she had ever taken a penalty shot before — after a Russian defender closed her hand on the puck in the crease.
“The goals were going to come,” she continued.
“We had a lot of good chances in the first so we knew we just had to stay on them and put the puck in the back of the net.”
With the game already well in hand, Marie-Philip Poulin scored her first goal of tournament play, shorthanded, to start the third period and Emily Clark added Canada’s eighth goal with time winding down in the contest.
“We’re happy that we had a couple chances,” Poulin said after the victory.
What was expected to be Canada’s top scoring line of Poulin, Meghan Agosta and Natalie Spooner has combined for just a goal and two assists so far this tournament.
“Happy with our line,” Poulin continued. “I think we got the puck on net and hopefully it’s going to get going in the next game.”
Johnston and her linemate Brianne Jenner both finished the night with four points.
Despite the rout at Sandman Centre, it’s not all roses for Canada through two games in Kamloops. The team played shorthanded eight times on Tuesday night against the Russians and was on the penalty kill six times against the Americans on Monday.
The penalty kill has surrendered just one goal so far this tournament — a plus — but Canadian head coach Laura Schuler said she’d rather see her team on the power play.
“We addressed that again in the locker-room,” she said post-game.
“We’ve got to keep our feet moving. We can’t take slashing penalties, reaching penalties, holding penalties. We’ve got to skate and move our feet.”
NOTES: Attendance on Tuesday was 4,453. . . . F Jillian Saulnier finished the night with two points. Wakefield also had two points, adding an assist to her goal. . . . Canada outshot the Russians 33-13. . . . Canada started goaltender Charline Labonté, who surrendered one goal on 13 shots. . . . Russian F Olga Sosina was named Russia’s player of the game. Canada’s Johnston received the honour. . . . Canada was 2-for-6 on the power play and is 3-for-9 in the tournament. The penalty kill was 8-for-8 and is 13-for-14 in the tournament.