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2022 Olympic Women’s Hockey: Team Canada vs R.O.C.

The Canadian Women are absolutely rolling right now, and tonight they take on the Russians before their big showdown against the Americans for top spot in Group A.

Ice Hockey - Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Day 1 Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

2022 OLYMPIC WOMEN’S HOCKEY: GROUP A PRELIMINARY ROUND

CANADA (2-0-0-0) vs RUSSIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE (1-0-0-1)

WUKESONG SPORTS CENTER, BEIJING, CHINA

8:10 PM PST

It’s been a pretty wild tournament so far, with some shockingly poor performances by teams we expected more from (Sweden, Finland, Switzerland) and the emergence of Japan as an underdog in this tournament. The Japanese squad is already through to the quarterfinals after their shootout loss to China (which is a huge story in and of itself), and can wrap up first overall in Group B with a win over the second place team from Czechia on Tuesday.

In Group A, while we expected Canada and the USA to roll through relatively easily, there’s still been some surprises. Finland and Switzerland getting absolutely steamrolled by the Canadian women was not something we thought we’d see, simply because of their performances over the past couple World Championships. That’s left the door open for the Russians to make a play for the quarter finals, and while they’re unlikely to topple Canada, they should be able to advance with a win over Finland Tuesday.

Canada’s been nearly perfect so far, apart from the power play not getting many opportunities thus far. They’re 2 for 6, which leads the tournament percentage wise, but it feels like this is an area of their game that can still improve. The penalty kill has been almost perfect, allowing just one goal in twelve opportunities. The R.O.C. have killed off 8 of 10 so far, so this could be something for Team Canada to exploit. It should also be noted that the American penalty kill is worse percentage-wise than the Canucks, having allowed 2 goals in 4 chances. Keep that in mind for tomorrow night’s game.

One of the big stories of the tournament so far has been Sarah Fillier, who is tied for the goal scoring lead with four goals in two games. Natalie Spooner is the scoring leader with nine points, three ahead of Canadian D Claire Thompson. Spooner is on pace to shatter Hayley Wickenheiser’s scoring record of 17 points in the 2006 Games, as well as her record of twelve assists.

While Canada was putting up eleven against the Finns on Friday night, the R.O.C. got blanked 5-0 by the USA, mustering just twelve shots on USA keeper Nicole Hensley. Given Canada’s strong defensive play so far, they’ll be hard pressed to get that many shots against Emerance Maschmeyer, who should get the start today in her first Olympic appearance, after solid performances from Ann-Marie Desbiens in the first two contests.

The last time these teams met was in the preliminary round at the 2021 Worlds, with Canada riding a three goal second period en route to a 5-1 win over the Russians. With the Americans leading the Swiss 7-0 as we write this, it sets up tomorrow’s game for first place in Group A and most importantly, a bye in the quarterfinals.