Canada 14 - Russia 1
CANADA EARNS BYE TO SEMIS WITH STRONG 14-1 WIN OVER RUSSIA;
BURLINGTON, Vt. — The new format at the IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship can't hide the chasm in the sport between Canada and Russia.
Canada steamrolled the Russians 14-1 to conclude the preliminary round in Pool A on Tuesday. Canada (2-1) awaited the result of the later Finland-U.S. game to determine its rank in the pool.
The world championship was altered to reduce lopsided scores, by having countries closer to each other in ability meet in the preliminary round.
But fourth-seeded Russia remains light years behind No. 2 Canada.
“I think their biggest downfall is coaching and leadership,” Canadian captain Hayley Wickenheiser (Shaunavon, Sask./University of Calgary, CIS) said.
“I just feel for those players, because I feel the Russian federation doesn't care enough about women's hockey to do what needs to be done. They deserve better.”
Ten different players scored for Canada. Natalie Spooner (Scarborough, Ont./Ohio State University, WCHA) led with a hat trick, while Meghan Agosta (Ruthven, Ont./Montreal, CWHL), Jayna Hefford (Kingston, Ont./Brampton, CWHL) and Wickenheiser all scored twice.
Gillian Apps (Unionville, Ont./Brampton, CWHL), Rebecca Johnston (Sudbury, Ont./Cornell University, ECAC), Marie-Philip Poulin (Beauceville, Que,/Boston University, HE) and Lauriane Rougeau (Beaconsfield, Que./Cornell University, ECAC) and Jennifer Wakefield (Pickering, Ont./Boston University, HE) also had goals.
Charline Labonté (Boisbriand, Que./McGill University, CIS) faced seven shots, giving up a power-play goal to Angelina Goncharenko in the third period.
Russia kept its best goaltender, Anna Prugova, on the bench to prepare for Wednesday's quarter-finals.
After Agosta scored Canada's fifth goal on a penalty shot in the first period, Valentina Ostrovlyanchik was replaced in Russia's net by 17-year-old Margarita Monakhova, who allowed nine goals on 28 shots.
The top four seeds of U.S., Canada, Finland and Russia were in Pool A, while fourth through eighth – Sweden, Switzerland, Slovakia and Germany – were in Pool B.
The top two in Pool A are rewarded with byes to the semifinal, while the bottom two play in Wednesday's quarter-finals against the top two from Pool B.
Switzerland and Sweden finished first and second respectively in Pool B to advance. The Swiss edged the Swedes 3-2 and Slovakia doubled Germany 4-2 on Tuesday.
Germany and Slovakia will meet in a three-game relegation round.
The Russian women won bronze at the 2001 IIHF World Women’s Championship in Minnesota, but their federation did nothing to build on that result.
Russia neglected the women's team until the country won the bid to host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.
Now attention is being paid, but too late for the Russian women to get on the level of Canada and defending world champion U.S. The Americans beat them 9-0 in the round robin.
Russia's goal is a bronze in Sochi, which is within reach of a country with a hockey culture and the facilities.
Russia has a six-team professional women's league, in which the players are paid. But the country has just 530 female players in total, compared to 85,000 in Canada.
Areas where Russia could make great strides in the time they have left before Sochi is in physical fitness.
Forward Ilya Gavrilova is a teammate of Wickenheiser's on the University of Calgary Dinos, and one of two players on the roster playing in North America.
She told The Canadian Press national-team players aren't required to follow an off-ice training program. Head coach Valentin Gureyev insists they are.
Whatever the case, Russia couldn't match Canada's pace from the outset. They were beaten to the puck or easily muscled off it, and thus rarely had the puck on their sticks.
“We need an individual program, but we also need girls to follow the program,” Gavrilova said. ``The coaches are trying to push us harder and harder. For some young players, they need to realize they need to work harder.
“We have to give everyone a program so everyone will work individually, but the mentality in Russia is because it's so easy to make the team, there's not enough competition to make the team. That's why I want them to go to North America so they can see how hard people work here.”
The end of Tuesday's game was chippy, as Russia's frustration at their sound beating surfaced.
“I know Ilya. I train with her every day. She's a very good player,'' Wickenheiser said. “She's capable of competing against us and I think they have several players who could do that, but I just don't think their players are given any respect, nor do they respect themselves enough to believe they can compete.
“It's unfortunate to see and very disappointing. That kind of hockey can't be played if you want to compete at this level.”
The Russian team played games against club and university teams in Calgary last November. Gureyev said the national team will do so again next season.
It's unclear whether Gureyev will coach the Russian women in Sochi. He says he's been told to prepare the team for the Winter Games.
The Canadians weren't willing to take their foot off the gas against their overmatched opponent. After a 9-2 loss to the U.S. to open the tournament, they want to build confidence in their offence heading into the playoff round.
``In women's hockey you always want to showcase the best of play that there is and to feed into the game they wanted to play would have just been a mockery of it,'' Wickenheiser said.
|Arena||Gutterson Fieldhouse||City, Country||Burlington, VT|
|Month / Day / Year||04/10/2012||Time||03:00 PM ET|
03:55 CAN 29 Marie-Philip Poulin (13 Caroline Ouellette, 16 Jayna Hefford)
07:14 CAN 22 Hayley Wickenheiser (13 Caroline Ouellette, 18 Catherine Ward) PP
09:44 CAN 24 Natalie Spooner (6 Rebecca Johnston, 22 Hayley Wickenheiser)
13:23 CAN 16 Jayna Hefford (29 Marie-Philip Poulin, 8 Laura Fortino)
14:56 CAN 2 Meghan Agosta PS
19:00 CAN 24 Natalie Spooner (22 Hayley Wickenheiser, 6 Rebecca Johnston)
08:02 CAN 24 Natalie Spooner (6 Rebecca Johnston, 22 Hayley Wickenheiser)
09:10 CAN 10 Gillian Apps (28 Vicki Bendus, 25 Tessa Bonhomme)
11:10 CAN 5 Lauriane Rougeau (24 Natalie Spooner, 6 Rebecca Johnston) PP
14:28 CAN 2 Meghan Agosta (5 Lauriane Rougeau, 12 Meaghan Mikkelson) PP
17:16 CAN 20 Jennifer Wakefield (17 Bailey Bram, 12 Meaghan Mikkelson)
03:35 CAN 6 Rebecca Johnston (22 Hayley Wickenheiser, 3 Jocelyne Larocque)
05:52 CAN 22 Hayley Wickenheiser (16 Jayna Hefford, 12 Meaghan Mikkelson)
09:00 RUS 2 Angelina Goncharenko (17 Valeriya Pavlova, 55 Galina Skiba) PP
13:35 CAN 16 Jayna Hefford (13 Caroline Ouellette, 29 Marie-Philip Poulin)
|Shots on Goal||1||2||3||Total|