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Women's Olympic Hockey Recap: Denmark Wins First Game, Canada, Sweden, Swiss Victorious

Canada and Russia's game was delayed, Denmark won its first Olympic game ever, third-ranked Finland is still without a win and Sweden's playoff hopes are still alive after an interesting Day 5 in Beijing.
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Canada Tops Russia After Bizzare Start
After an hour delay due to Russia not submitting its COVID-19 results for the day in time, Canada managed to skate out to a 6-1 win.

Canada now leads the tournament with a goal-differential of 26 after three games, with the game against Russia marking its lowest offensive output after wins of 12-1 and 11-1 against Switzerland and Finland, respectively.

Both teams were forced to wear N95 masks after Canada failed to take the ice at the original time as the team awaited COVID-19 results from Russia. Canada asked the Russians to wear masks first before Russia agreed and asked Canada to do the same.

Once the game got started, Canada looked strong out of the game. Just like in its win against Finland, Canada got early goals from Sarah Nurse and Sarah Fillier to take a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. Factor in the competition and the delayed start, and it was a big first period by 17-year-old Daria Gredzen in the first start of her Olympic career.

Russia held its own, but penalty troubles put them down by another goal eight minutes into the second. Jamie Lee Rattray scored on the power play after knocking in the loose disk just outside of the crease, scoring her second of the tournament with assists from Nurse and Natalie Spooner, who recorded her tournament-leading 10th point on the play. 

Canada controlled the second period, and after taking a 21-0 shot advantage in the middle frame, they scored another. This time, it was Erin Ambrose's shot that beat the blocker of Gredzen to make it 4-0, a deficit the Russians just couldn't make up.

But, Russia wouldn't back away without making history. On the fourth shot of the period for the Russians after 18 minutes of play, Anna Shokhina scored Russia's first goal against Canada in five Olympic meetings, marking a proud moment for a team struggling to create much offense. It didn't make much of a difference in the end, as Canada scored twice in the third period to cap off a 6-1 win, the first time the team failed to get into double digits all tournament long.

Denmark Keeps Playoff Hopes Alive With First Olympic Win
Winning your first game at any major tournament is always special. Winning your first game to keep your Olympic playoff hopes again? Even more special. That's what Denmark did on Monday, coming from behind to beat the Czech Republic 3-2 to keep the Czechs out of the playoff round for now.

The Danes found themselves trailing twice in the game, but not for long in either instance. Aneta Tejralova scored at 5:48 to break the ice for the Czechs, with top Danish scorer Josefine Jakobsen striking back at 9:14 to tie it up. Katerina Mrazova then scored next for the Czechs, fanning on a one-timer before getting her own second chance on a bit of a scramble by the Danish defenders. 

Just 1:27 after that, Tereza Vanisova took a costly turnover and Michelle Weis made her pay, once again tying the game up before the game hit the halfway point. 

The Czechs had an overall offensive advantage with a 32-17 shot lead, but the Danes hit them where it hurts the most. Just 49 seconds into the third, Silke Glud gave the Danes its first lead of the game, one that would last until the final buzzer. 

The loss prevented the Czechs from an automatic berth in the quarter-finals, but they're still in a safe standing heading into the final game of the tournament with a 2-1 record. A win over Japan on Tuesday would move them up, while Denmark will need to beat Sweden on Tuesday to advance to its first-ever post-season appearance.

Sweden Keeps Hopes Alive With Win Over China
A minute and a half of great pressure by Sweden was all it took to give them a 2-1 win over China and give them another chance at making the playoffs.

Felizia Wikner-Zienkiewicz and Josefin Bouveng scored at 25:14 and 26:39 respectively in what ended up being the game-deciding plays. Mulan Kang scored the lone first-period goal at 5:16 to give China the early lead, but it was the only goal they'd get credited for.

Jiaying Zhou made 31 stops for China, while Emma Soderberg shut things down at the other end with 32 stops.

Sweden needed to win in regulation to force a winner-takes-all approach to its game against Denmark to finalize the playoff round. China will not advance despite recording five points in wins against Denmark and Japan (shootout).

Finland Still Winless, But Swiss Grabs First W
Lara Stalder and Alina Muller combined for five points in a big 3-2 win for Switzerland over Finland, giving the Swiss control of fourth in Group A after playing all four of its games. 

The Finns now sit with an 0-3 record with just five goals scored, making them the only team in the entire tournament without a point. The defending bronze medalists will try and regroup for a final game against Russia to close out the tournament, which could move the team back into third place.

The Swiss struck first, led by an 11:52 goal by Lara Christen. Nelli Laitinen and Dominique Ruegg scored for Finland and Switzerland respectively leading up to the halfway point in the game, setting up what was looking to be a tight finish to the end. Stalder then scored at 41:21 to give Switzerland its biggest lead of the game, and the eventual game-winner. 

Elisa Holopainen added Finland's final goal at 50:11 to give the team some hope, with the coaching staff electing to pull Anni Keisala with 1:02 left in the game to try and drum up late opportunities. The Finns came up short, handing the win to Switzerland.

News & Notes

- Canada's Emily Clark took part in the warmups before being escorted off the ice. Hockey Canada later said she had an inconclusive test and was taken out as a precaution. 

- Canada and USA faced off in a men's pre-tournament game that resulted in a 0-0 regulation outing. USA scored twice in overtime for the unofficial victory.

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Three Stars

1. Cassandra Repstock-Romme, DEN: The Czechs were the better team, but Repstock-Romme was the better player, and it worked out in the end. 

2. Lara Stalder, SUI: A goal and an assist helped Switzerland record its first win of the tournament.

3. Josefin Bouveng, SWE: Her second-period goal and overall strong attack helped Sweden win its most important game of the tournament.

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