NORRKOPING, Sweden - Sarah Vaillancourt had two goals and an assist Thursday as eight-time defending champion Canada warmed up for the IIHF world women's hockey championship with a 9-2 win over Finland.
Star forward Hayley Wickenheiser had one goal and two assists while Cassie Campbell, Kelly Bechard, Jayna Hefford, Correne Bredin, Caroline Ouellette and Danielle Goyette also scored in Canada's lone exhibition game.
"We got off to a slow start in the first period," said head coach Melody Davidson, whose team trailed 2-1 after the opening 20 minutes. "But we stayed patient, let everything come together and had a solid second period and a real good third period."
Davidson was looking for her team to start developing chemistry heading into Sunday's world championship opener against Kazakhstan (TSN, 2 p.m. EST).
"Chemistry and trust is important," she said. "The trust to move the puck and knowing your teammate is going to be there.
"In the first period we weren't sharp because some players hadn't played together. By the third period we had started to work together and trust each other."
The coach was pleased to see eight different goal-scorers on the game sheet.
"All four lines contributed," she said. "It's a good sign considering we played two alternates (Meghan Augusta and Tessa Bonhomme). Some players who played last weekend had colds. A couple of days' rest never hurt anybody."
Finland jumped out to an early lead as Karoliina Rantamaki fired a shot past Kim St-Pierre just 1:24 into the game. Canada replied 17 seconds later as Sunohara centred a beautiful pass right on the stick of Campbell as she deflected one past Finnish goalie Noora Raty. Finland regained its one-goal lead on the power play as Mari Sarrinen put home a rebound.
Canada stormed out of the gate in the second period, scoring three unanswered goals in just over four minutes thanks to Vaillancourt, Wickenheiser and Bechard.
Hefford extended Canada's lead to 5-2 on a nice wrist shot form the slot five minutes into the final period. Canada then rattled off three more goals by Bredin, Ouellette and Goyette in a span of 50 seconds to give Canada an 8-2 lead. Vaillancourt capped the scoring at 16:53.
St-Pierre stopped 20 shots as Canada outshot the Finns 58-22
FROM A PLAYER’S PERSPECTIVE
GINA KINGSBURY – Gina is participating in her third IIHF World Women’s Hockey Championship (2001, 2004). She has won five medals in her career with the National Women’s Team since her start in 2001. Gina is a product of the National Under-22 Team as she played sporadically with them from 1999-2003 in addition to playing with the National Women’s Team. She graduated from St.Lawrence University in 2004 with a degree in Psychology.
It’s pretty exciting to be here in Sweden for my third world championship. We have been here for a few days now and are presently playing in an exhibition game against Finland; unfortunately I am not playing, resting a soar ankle but looking forward to the official start of the world championship and to finally get to play. The team looks great, our team spirit is at a high and I feel as though we are well united. I have a great feeling about the tournament and what lies ahead for this team.