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Women's Olympic Hockey Recap: China, Russia Grab First Wins

Denmark's Olympic debut was spoiled by a pair of late goals by China, and Switzerland's struggles continue thanks to a big win by Russia in a short two-game show on Day 2 in Beijing.
Olympic Ice

China Beats Danish Newcomers

After last participating in the Olympics in 2018, China has kicked things off in a big way with a 3-1 win over a fresh Danish team.

It was a big win for China, who last won a preliminary game on Feb. 12, 1998 against Sweden, or 8,758 days ago. China won the seventh-place game at the 2010 tournament, the last showing the team made on the world's largest stage.

It was a close game on Friday, with Denmark scoring its first-ever Olympic goal in its first game. Defender Malene Frandsen scored eight minutes in, Malene Frandsen scored after picking up Nicoline Jensen;'s rebound attempt, giving her team an advantage that would hold until near the end of the second. 

At 36:46. Qiqi Lin finally capitalized for China after tipping in a shot from Baiwei Yu. The game was tight until the final minute when Ni Lin scored on a deke with 50.9 seconds left to beat Cassandra Repstock-Romme for the big 2-1 goal. Qiqi Lin then scored an empty-netter shortly after for the 3-1 goal to secure the win, an exciting moment for an underdog nation looking to make noise in Group B.

China will get a day off after playing two games in two nights, facing off next against Japan on Feb. 6. Denmark won't have much time to rest, playing Japan themselves on Saturday.

Russia Starts Strong Against Switzerland

Russia's Olympic hopes started off with a big 5-2 win over Switzerland on Day 2 of the tournament.

Switzerland is the first team to fall to 0-2 in the round-robin after losing 12-1 to Canada. The game against Russia was supposed to offer them an opportunity back into tournament contention, but Russia had different plans.

The game was close for much of it, with the two teams trading goals throughout the first half of the battle. Yekaterina Dobrodeyeva opened the scoring at 5:54 after a bit of a scramble in front to put the Swiss behind early. But Lara Stalder, one of Switzerland's better skaters, tied it up at 17:16, putting some life back into a team off to a rough start. But just 13 seconds later, Polina Bolgareva took Russia's lead back, taking any momentum away from the Swiss late in the frame. 

Alina Muller's goal at 26:57 made it look like the Swiss were going to hang around for the rest of the game, but that was the end of the team's competitiveness for the most part. Anna Shibanova scored at 30:30 to take Russia's lead back, only for Bolgareva to score twice more to put the nail in the coffin.

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Three Stars

1. Polina Bolgareva, ROC: With three goals, Bolgareva kicked off her tournament as well as she possibly could.

2. Qiqi Lin, CHI: Massive game for Lin, who scored twice and assisted on the game-winner.

3. Jiaying Zhou, CHI: Zhou has already been the talk of the tournament with her dragon-inspired pads. Her 24-save effort, though, was a highlight on Day 2.

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News & Notes:

- Canada's Mélodie Daoust was forced to leave Canada's game against Switzerland on Thursday with a shoulder injury. Hockey Canada said she is being assessed and that there are no further details about her participation in the rest of the tournament.

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