Women’s World Championships, Day Three: USA, Canada earn byes, quarterfinal match-ups set

With round-robin play now complete, the teams that have made it through to the playoff rounds are now set, as is the match-up in the relegation round. Of note, the United States clinched first in Group A, and Sweden and Switzerland move on out of Group B. But first, a recap of the final preliminary round games.

United States 9, Russia 2

Team USA ends round-robin action with a perfect 3-0-0-0 record, and capped it off with a rout over the Russians today. Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson led the team with a hat trick and four points.

The United States opened up a 3-0 lead with goals from Lamoureux-Davidson, Hilary Knight, and Meghan Duggan, but Russia cut that to just a one-goal deficit before the halfway mark of the game. Olga Sosina and Lyudmila Belyakova scored barely two minutes apart to make it a 3-2 game, but the U.S. ran away with it after that.

Lamoureux-Davidson and Hannah Brandt scored before the end of the frame to build the lead to 5-2. Lamoureux-Davidson completed her hat trick with a goal about four minutes into the third, and Alex Carpenter and Brianna Decker also added goals before Knight scored her second of the day to finish it off.

The U.S. outshot Russia 49-5. Knight and defenseman Anne Schleper both recorded three-point games, while four other players had multi-point efforts.

Switzerland 3, Japan 0

Switzerland punched its ticket to the quarterfinals with the shutout today against the Japanese, whose run unfortunately ends after a very admirable effort in Group B play.

Alina Muller put the Swiss up 1-0 at the 13:59 mark of the first, while Anja Stiefel doubled that lead about halfway through the next period. Florence Schelling turned aside 14 third-period shots to keep Japan off the board, and Phoebe Staenz tacked on an empty-net goal with 45 seconds left for the 3-0 win.

Schelling made 36 saves for the shutout, as the Japanese outshot the Swiss by a sizable amount, 36-26. Stiefel led the offensive effort for Switzerland with a two-point game. For Japan, Haruka Toko led the way with seven shots on net.

Switzerland vs. Japan – 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship from IIHF on Vimeo.

Canada 6, Finland 2

The Finns were without top forward Michelle Karvinen, which made a big difference in a game that was much closer than the final score shows for a good chunk of it. Two goals from Natalie Spooner led the way for Canada.

Brigette Lacquette gave the Canadians a 1-0 lead on the power play about nine minutes into the opening period, and Spooner doubled it just over two minutes later. Jenni Hiirikoski cut the deficit in half with a power-play goal of her own before the end of the period, however.

Finland held Canada off for most of the second period, but Jenn Wakefield opened things up a bit after getting in behind the defense and snapping one high glove-side. Less than a minute later, Courtney Birchard made it a 4-1 Canada lead to finish off the second-period scoring.

Emily Clark scored her first World Championships goal early in the third to extend it a four-goal lead, but Hiirikoski answered again for the Finns just seven seconds later. Spooner scored her second of the afternoon with under three to go for the 6-2 final.

Overall, it wasn’t the worst showing for Finland, but Canada made several plays to break the game open and the Finns did not have enough of a response, either to prevent those plays or to score themselves. They actually held the Canadians to under 30 shots on goal, with Canada holding a 29-17 edge in that department.

Sweden 4, Germany 0

A hat trick from Anna Borgqvist helped push host Sweden through to the quarterfinals, as the Swedes downed Germany in the final round-robin game.

It was a fairly dominant effort from Sweden, who outshot the Germans 45-15 in the contest. Borgqvist scored just 51 seconds into the first to put the Swedes up early, and then added two more in the second to open up a big 3-0 lead.

Erika Grahm continued a fantastic tournament so far, scoring with under five to play for the 4-0 final. Sara Grahn picked up the shutout in net. Borgqvist totaled four points, while Grahm and Emma Nordin both notched multi-point games. Defenseman Emilia Andersson had a game-high seven shots from the blue line.

Quarterfinal Match-Ups

As the top two teams in Group A, the United States and Canada both earned byes to the semifinals. Finland, the third seed out of Group A, will face off against Switzerland in one quarterfinal, as the Swiss finished second in Group B. In the other quarterfinal, last-place Group A squad Russia will take on host and Group B winner Sweden.

In the relegation round, Japan and Germany will battle in a best-of-three series to decide who will remain in the top division at the 2016 Women’s World Championships. Japan picked up a win against Germany on Sunday in preliminary round action, 2-0.

Remaining Schedule

Wednesday, April 1
Quarterfinal #1: Finland vs. Switzerland, 10 a.m. EST
Relegation round: Japan vs. Germany, 12 p.m. EST
Quarterfinal #2: Russia vs. Sweden, 2 p.m. EST

Friday, April 3
Semifinal #1, 6 a.m. EST
Relegation round: Japan vs. Germany, 8 a.m. EST
Semifinal #2, 10 a.m. EST

Saturday, April 4
Bronze medal game, 6 a.m. EST
Relegation round (if necessary): Japan vs. Germany, 8 a.m. EST
Gold medal game, 10 a.m. EST

Final Group Standings

Group A

1. United States, 3-0-0-0, 9 points
2. Canada, 2-0-0-1, 6 points
3. Finland, 0-1-0-2, 2 points
4. Russia, 0-0-1-2, 1 point

Group B

1. Sweden, 2-0-1-0, 7 points
2. Switzerland, 2-0-0-1, 6 points
3. Japan, 1-1-0-1, 5 points
4. Germany, 0-0-0-3, 0 points

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