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Women's Olympic Hockey Recap: Quarter-Final Matchups Set

Canada took the fabled Battle of North America, Japan won Group B, Finland finally scored a win and Sweden fought its way in during the final day of preliminary round action in Beijing.
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Canada Beats USA After Crazy Second Period
The win was Canada's third consecutive round-robin victory against the Americans, with both teams splitting victories in the past two gold medal contests.

The Americans started off by making a big statement, taking a 12-2 shot advantage after 10 minutes of play. But it was a big goal on Canada's third shot that helped change the fortunes for the 2018 silver medalists. Brianne Jenner scored on the power play at 14:10 after taking Sarah FIllier's pass from below the goal line and shot the puck over a fallen Maddie Rooney for the ice breaker.

The second period, though, was where things went absolutely bonkers. Dani Cameranesi scored on an empty cage after Ann-Renee Desbiens slipped in the crease to tie the game up at 29:17, only for Alex Carpenter to score two minutes later on the power play to make it 2-1.

But less than 30 seconds after that, Jenner's second goal tied the game up at two apiece to carry on the chaos. Jamie Lee Rattray, who has fallen in the footsteps of Marie-Philip Poulin as a reliable goal-scorer whenever Canada needs it, scored just a few minutes later, only to have Poulin complete the second-period damage.

The real story was the incredible performance by Desbiens in the Canadian net. With 52 saves, it was easily one of the best performances by a Canadian goaltender in Olympic history, helping salvage a good second-period effort to take home the victory.

Japan Wins Group After Beating Czech Republic 
Japan enters the playoff round as the top team from Group B thanks to a 3-2 shootout win over the Czech Republic.

The Czechs definitely looked like the better team with a 38-25 shot advantage, but Nana Fujimoto made 36 saves to be a big difference-maker for the team.

On the scoresheet where it matters, the two teams traded goals throughout. Haruka Toko scored the only goal of the first to make it 1-0 Japan, with Denisa Krizova scoring at 26:09 to tie it up. Toko's second goal at 40:23 gave Japan its lead back, taking a bit of the early third-period jump out of the Czechs.

Japan looked a bit tired near the end of the game, with just 16 skaters seeing ice time and defenders Aoi Shiga and Ayaka Toko both playing over 30 minutes. That allowed Natalie Mlynkova to force overtime with a goal at 45:53, giving the Czechs some hope of taking Japan out of the running for the top spot. But it would be Hanae Kubo that scored the shootout winner for the Japanese to secure the win, giving them the top spot in Group B and a meeting with Finland in the quarter-final.

Sweden Wins Scandinavian Duel to Advance
The mission was simple: win and you're in. Lose and you're heading home early. 

For Sweden, the only other team outside of North America to make the Olympic gold medal game, that was all the motivation they needed to beat a fresh-faced Danish team 3-1 to move on to the quarter-finals. 

Emma Nordin scored the opening goal at 3:02, a lead that covered the entire first half of the game. Julie Oskbjerg scored Denmark's lone goal at 34:04 to give the team some pep, but Lisa Johansson's goal two minutes later took all that newfound momentum away. Ebba Berglund scored an empty-netter with 17 seconds left to seal the deal despite a late-game Danish attack.

Sweden will face off against Canada on Feb. 11, giving them a few days to prepare against the top team out of Group A. The Danes can leave knowing they made a mark as a first-time Olympic outfit, beating the Czech Republic on Monday for the team's first win at this event.

Finns Crush Russia to Finish Third in Group A
Finland's only win of the round-robin was a huge one, beating Russia 5-0 to break a three-way tie and finish third in Group A. 

The result comes after Finland's major struggles against Canada, USA and Switzerland, forcing the defending bronze medalists to grind their way to a win in the final game of the preliminary round. 

It started off strong, with goals from Sanni Rantala and Michelle Karvinen. The Finns had an offensive explosion midway through the second, with Jenniina Nylund, Minnamari Tuominen and Susanna Tapani scoring three goals in just over four minutes to force Maria Sorokina out of the net in favor of Valeria Merkusheva. Merkusheva stopped the rest of the shots sent her way, but at that point, it was way too late.

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Quarter-final Schedule

Friday, Feb. 11 
USA vs. Czech Republic - 11:10 PM ET (Thursday evening)
Canada vs. Sweden - 8:10 AM ET

Saturday, Feb. 12
Russia vs. Switzerland - 11:10 PM ET (Friday evening)
Finland vs. Japan - 3:40 AM ET

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Three Stars

1. Anne-Renee Desbiens, CAN: Her 51-save performance was easily one of the best in Canadian Olympic goaltending history. 

2. Brianne Jenner, CAN: Two goals got the ball rolling for Canada, and it was arguably the biggest performance of her already impressive national team career.

3. Haruka Toko, JPN: Her two goals made sure Japan forced extra time. A huge performance from the 24-year-old forward.

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