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Women's Olympic Hockey Recap: USA, Canada Advance to Semifinal

USA had a bit of a scare against the Czech Republic, while Canada rolled through Sweden to make up half of the semifinal group in the women's Olympic hockey tournament.

Americans Avoid Upset Against Czech Republic

On paper, having the top-ranked team in the world versus a Czech team with no Olympic experience and just four years of experience at the top World Championship level should have been one-sided. An 18-0 shot advantage in the first was a good indication of that, too.

But Friday's meeting between USA and the Czech Republic was much closer than most expected, with the United States eventually taking a 4-1 win.

The Americans prevented the Czechs from getting any shots on net in the first, but Klara Peslarova was up for the challenge. But like in most lop-sided games, shots-wise, the Czechs needed to answer back big before Peslarova got too worn out.

And luckily for Peslarova, that's exactly what the Czechs did. On just the team's first shot of the game at 24:59, Daniela Pejsova scored after the Czechs crashed the net, leaving a loose puck to go through traffic around the crease. Pejsova was able to send the puck past a fallen Alex Cavallini and in for the 1-0 goal, a shock to an American team that had completely dominated the start of the game.

But the lead didn't last too long. At 5:47, Kendall Coyne Schofield's shot was stopped, but Hilary Knight was there to knock in the bouncing puck and beat Peslarova for the 1-1 goal.

Peslarova gave it her all, but at 46:49, the Americans scored to take a lead they'd never relinquish. Lee Stecklein's shot from the point would get deflected off a Czech stick and in, with Peslarova unable to react without her stick. Peslarova made 55 saves in a brilliant effort, but additional goals from Savannah Harmon and Kendall Coyne Schofield left sealed the deal for the Americans.

The United States will await its semifinal competitor before embarking on the final four on Feb. 14.

Canada Hits Double Digits Over Sweden

Canada will play for a medal at the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games after beating Sweden 11-0.

Canada has won all meetings between Canada and Sweden in Olympic competition, including at 2006 gold medal game, the only time in which Canada has not played the United States for gold. Canada became the second team to advance to the final four after the Americans narrowly beat the Czech Republic 4-1 earlier in the day.

It didn't take long for Canada to show its muscle. At 3:05, Brianne Jenner scored while standing uncontested in front of the Swedish net, knocking in a pass from Marie-Philip Poulin to make it 1-0. At the time, Jenner's sixth goal was the most in this year's tournament.

But that didn't last long thanks to Sarah Fillier. At 17:05, Fillier scored on the power-play after standing in front of the net with a Swedish defender looking the wrong way. Just 36 seconds later, Fillier scored again after a group of four Swedes crowded the front, but the puck bounced out to the side where Fillier was alone and she made no mistake for her tournament-leading seventh goal. Jamie Lee Rattray scored at 19:35 for good measure to make it a four-goal game heading into the intermission.

It only got uglier from there from a Swedish perspective. Canada took a 9-0 lead into the second intermission, thanks to goals from Natalie Spooner, Erin Ambrose, Blayne Turnbull, Emily Clark and a second from Jenner. Jenner tallied a 10th goal for her second hat-trick, only for Fillier to do the same shortly after in the third to make it 11-0, the third time Canada reached the 11-goal mark in the tournament.

Canada will wait until Saturday afternoon to find their opponent for the semifinal game on Monday.


Three Stars

1. Klara Peslarova, CZE: Hard to beat a 55-save effort, especially when it almost single-handedly kept the team alive against an Olympic powerhouse.

2. Brianne Jenner, CAN: Three goals for Jenner gives her eight on the tournament.

3. Sarah Fillier, CAN: Read above and apply to Fillier.


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