Americans, Finns post shutouts

WW18: USA stifles Russians, Portnoj denies Germany

PSG Arena Zlin  Czech Republic

Demi Crossman (10) and the rest of Team USA kicked off their 2012 medal run with an 8-0 win over Russia. Photo: Phillip MacCallum / HHOF-IIHHF Images

USA-Russia 8 - 0 (2 - 0, 2 - 0, 4 - 0) Game Sheet, Photos Picking up right where they left off last year, Team USA demonstrated why they are the defending gold medal champions and winners of three out of four IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championships. Goaltender Sidney Peters posted a shutout as the Americans shut down Russia's offence 8-0 in their opening game. Peters did not have to work too hard in the game, thanks to a suffocating American defence. The Russians managed only a pair of shots on net in the opening period, while at the other end her counterpart Margarita Monakhova was under constant pressure from the US forwards. By the end of the game, the Russian netminder had faced 71 shots to Peters’ 13. Dana Trivigno and Haley Skarupa provided the spark for the American offence. After assisting on Skarupa’s second goal in the first period, Trivigno got the puck on the power play and got it past Monakhova to put her team up 4-0. Both Trivigno and Skarupa each added an even-strength goal in the third period to help seal up a 8-0 opening game win at Zlin’s Zimni Stadion. Forwards Miye D'oench, Paige Savage, and Sydney Daniels rounded out the scoring. Finland-Germany 3 - 0 (1 - 0 , 1 - 0, 1 - 0) Game Sheet, Photos Finland’s third place finish at the 2011 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship came thanks to a stellar goaltending campaign from Isabella Portnoj. With Portnoj back in the lineup once more for the Finns, the team managed to overcome a tough German squad 3-0 in the first game of the tournament for both teams. It wasn’t easy for Finland early on. The Germans attacked the Finnish net early and often, piling up 24 shots in the first period. However, Portnoj denied every attempt, and after the Finns got out of the period with a 1-0 lead thanks to forward Jenna Suokko, they held Germany to only a handful of scoring chances the rest of the way. Finnish captain Anna Kilponen overcame a body checking penalty late in the first to score an insurance goal in the second period. With Finland on a two-man advantage, her linemate Suvi Ollikainen sealed the victory with another score. The Finns are now looking to string together a pair of wins in the group stage with a game against Switzerland tomorrow, while the Germans will have to try and find the back of the net against Team Canada.

Czech Republic-Sweden 1-4 (0 - 2, 1 - 1, 0 - 1) Photos, Game Sheet

The hometown Czechs were in tough for their first match of the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship, drawing Group A contender and 2011 host Sweden. Swedish goaltender Sara Besseling turned away 21 of 22 shots in a 4-1 victory, a strong start for a Swedish team that ended up a disappointing 5th place on home ice last year.

By the middle of the second period, Czech forward Klara Mazankova got her team into the game with a score on the man advantage, but not before Julia Lennartsson had added another score for Sweden to make it 3-1.

Besseling proved too tough an obstacle for the Czechs to overcome, stopping 14 of 15 shots in the crucial second period to refuse her opponents any further attempt at a comeback.

The Czech team ran into penalty trouble early, falling behind 2-0 off of a pair of powerplay goals from Michelle Lowenhielm and Sabina Kuller. An equal strength goal from Swedish forward Linn Peterson put the game out of reach in the third period.

The Swedes now face a much tougher task tomorrow, when they face the defending champion United States, with the Czech Republic taking on Russia.

Canada-Switzerland 13 - 1 (2 - 1, 5 - 0, 6 - 0) Photos, Game Sheet

Like their U20 male counterparts playing in Alberta, the Canadian women’s U18 team got off to a flying start in their first game, a 13-1 clinic over the Swiss. Eager to avenge a 5-2 loss in the gold medal game against the U.S. last year, the Canadians looked prime and ready for another medal run.

Switzerland’s tendency to be a thorn in the side of Canadian teams did not surface for the second year in a row at the women’s U18. Last season, Canada cruised to a 9-1 win in their opening game.

Unfortunately for the Swiss, this year saw much of the same. Led by a hat trick from Catherine Dubois, the Canadians had little trouble getting points on the score sheet, and led 7-1 by the start of the third period.

Though a powerplay goal by Isabel Waidacher tied the game early in the first period, the Canadians stepped up with six unanswered scores to put the game out of reach before the horn sounded the end of the second frame. A short-handed goal from Taylor Woods, and additional markers by Alexis Crossley, Emily Clark, Cayley Mercer, Cydney Roesler, Laura Stacey, Nicole Connery, and Rebecca Kohler rounded out the scoring.

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