The Women’s Ice Hockey Tournament of the XXIV Olympic Winter Games started yesterday. Oh boy is there a lot to talk about. Canada routed Switzerland. The United States is now 7-0-0 in olympic tournament opening games. China managed to not completely suck. Japan played a lot better than I expected. Theres just so much hockey.
The first game of the tournament was Canada and Switzerland. Canada started off the scoring early by putting one in the net 64 seconds into the game. The goal was then challenged by the Swiss coach. Watching it in real time felt like it was taking forever. The goal stood. Canada would end up with a three to zero goal lead after the first period. Canada scored five goals in the second period. The third period saw five goals again. One from Switzerland and four from Canada. The final was 12-1 Canada. Canada put up an impressive 70 shots.
Canada came to win. They are playing like they are on a mission. It was like watching a NHL team play an ECHL team. At one point I was like welp they scored again. By the third I was like somebody preform a mercy killing. Canada scored a lot. They could have scored a lot more. They may end up in a situation where they find it hard to score moving forward since they scored so much. Often times a team has a high scoring game followed by that team strugling in the next couple games. That tends to happen in tournaments and is prevalent in the NHL playoffs. After high scoring games teams find it hard to tighten up. Tougher opponents are coming up and I don’t know that they will they be ready. That being said I think this was a message to the United States that Canada is gunning for them.
At the same time the Canada vs Switzerland game was going a much closer game was going on. That game was the Czech Republic vs China. Prior to the game China has shown off their goalies sick pads. Surprisingly it took half way through the first period before the Czech Republic would score. The Czech Republic would make it 2-0 in the second. Then this unbeilable thing happened. China scored. I couldn’t believe it. About half way through the second period MI Le scored a goal for China to make the game 1-2. The Czech Republic would make it 3-1 on the games final goal in the third period.
I was impressed with how China played. I honestly didn’t think they were going to be competitive. From the stats it seems like their goal tending kept them in the game. I still think they are the underdogs. I still think they will struggle to get leads and find wins. 14 shots isn’t going to win games. The Czech Republic was the clear favorite going into this game. They didn’t dominate. They definitely controlled the game though. They didn’t let China get anything substantial going.
Japan played Sweden for the third game of the day. Japan scored in the last minute of the first to take the lead into the second. Sweden would score early in the second to tie the game. Japan would take the lead in the third period. Japan would get an empty netter. Japan would win the game 3-1.
I didn’t think Japan would be this good. 40 shots and 3 goals isn’t too bad. The power play is something both of these teams will have to work on moving forward. Sweden didn’t help themselves by getting six penalties either. I have yet to see anything from either of these teams to suggest that either of these teams will be medal contenders. I think Japan will move past the group stage but if Sweden continues to play this way they wont.
The last game of the day we between the United States and Finland. I already did an in depth review of that game you can check out here. Briana Decker went down around 10:28 in the first period. She had to be stretchered off the ice. Amanda Kessel opened up the scoring at 10:37 in the first period making it 1-0 USA. Two minutes later Alex Carpenter would score on the power play to make it 2-0 USA. The United States would extend their lead in the second period with two more goals from the captain Kendall Coyne Schofield to make it 4-0 USA heading into the third. Finland finally scored in the third to make it 4-1 USA. The United States would respond with a goal from Alex Carpenter (her second of the game) to make it 5-1 USA. Finland would then score the games final goal late in the third to make it 2-5 USA. The final score was a 5-2 United States.
The injury to Brianna Decker will cause her to miss the rest of the olympics. I hope that she heels up and is back on the ice soon. I think beating Finland by 3 is great. Other than the injury to Brianna Decker this is how I wanted them to start the tournament. The United States had a solid response to Canadas message.
Here are the current group standings. Canada currently leads Group A and Japan currently leads Group B.
Upcoming games: Denmark vs China on February 3rd at 8pm PST. ROC (Russia) vs Finland on Feb 3rd at 8pm. Will Finland bounce back? How will ROC (Russia) do? Will China find their first win against Denmark?