International Ice Hockey Federation

Canada back on course

Canada back on course

Four-goal show sinks Sweden

Published 07.01.2018 23:28 GMT+4 | Author Andy Potts
Canada back on course
DMITROV, RUSSIA - JANUARY 7: Canada's Courtney Kollman #14 celebrates with her bench after scoring against Sweden during preliminary round action at the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women's World Championship. (Photo by Francois Laplante/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Canada rebounds from its opening day loss against Russia with a comfortable victory over Sweden, despite another resilient goaltending display.

Another day, another Swedish goalie, and another one-woman show to defy a barrage of shots on Sweden’s net. After Anna Amholt’s eye-catching performance in her country’s overtime loss against the USA on Saturday, it was Miranda Dahlgren’s turn to impress on Sunday against Canada.

For the Canadians, this was a chance to get its Women’s U18 World Championship campaign back on track after a surprise loss against Russia in game one, and when Courtney Kollman fired home the opening goal after 84 seconds, there was a danger that Sweden might be in for a long evening.

For Kollman, one of many World Championship debutees on the Canadian roster, it was a first international goal ... and a thrilling moment for the 17-year-old representative of Edge School.

"It feels awesome," she said. "We needed to get the win today, and doing it is awesome for the team and for Canada."

Indeed, the early exchanges were not at all promising for the Scandinavians. There was little sign of any offence, and Canada was able to double its lead in the 12th minute when Julia Gosling was sent through one-on-one with Dahlgren and roofed her shot.

By that stage, Sweden had not managed a single shot at Kendra Woodland, making her World Championship debut for Canada, and only began to test the Kamloops native after gaining a power play as the first period progressed.

Kollman attributed that defensive solidity to a family atmosphere in the team. "It felt like we were a family out there, we were blocking our shots at the right times and at crucial moments we were winning our battles.

"We bounced back today, we focussed on our game keys and that helped us push them out and we coud play our game."

Meanwhile, at the other end, Dahlgren was also taking her World Championship bow, and performed heroically in  a one-sided second period. Dahlgren made 17 saves, while her team-mates failed to test Woodland once. Highlights included a double stop to thwart Claire Dalton and Audrey-Anne Veillette; the one time she was beaten, the video ref ruled that Sarah Fillier’s knockdown from Margaret Connors’ pass involved a hand and the goal was ruled out.

For Canada's head coach, Delaney Collins, these could have been anxious moments. "It's always hard to defend a 2-0 lead," she said. "Maybe the thing I'm most proud of tonight is that we didn't sit back, we didn't get frustrated by the way they play and that's really important as we move forward."

However, as in Sweden’s first game against the USA, the attack was getting little traction. While Dahlgren, like Amholt before her, was doing a great job in keeping the team in the game, it’s difficult to score without getting shots on the opposition net.

The Swedish shooting drought ended 90 seconds into the third period when Sofie Lundin warmed Woodland’s gloves from close in, and soon afterwards Vendella Olsson drew a more demanding blocker save from the top of the circle as Sweden looked for a way back into the game. However, when play went to the other end, Olsson took a cross-checking penalty, handing the momentum back to Canada and putting the pressure back on Dahlgren.

That pressure ultimately told when Canada added a third through Gosling, her second of the game coming after Dalton stole the puck in the Swedish zone and set up her team-mate. Dahlgren could do nothing at all about Canada’s fourth, as Sweden opted to bring on a sixth skater only to lose possession and gift Abygail Moloughney with a chance to put some gloss on the final scoreline. Canada finished with four goals, but Dahlgren’s 34 saves kept the game live for as long as possible.

 

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