CALGARY, AB -- Angela James of Thornhill, ON scored twice and linemate Karen Nystrom of Scarborough, ON had one goal and two assists to lead Canada's Women's Olympic Hockey Team to a 6-2 victory over the Chinese National Women's Team on Wednesday night at Father David Bauer Arena.
Calgary resident Jennifer Botterill chipped in with a goal and an assist for Canada, which also got goals from Luce Letendre of Brossard, QC and Jayna Hefford of Kingston, ON. Sang Hong and Yang Xiuqing scored for China.
The game was the first of a two-game series against the Chinese in Calgary and kicked off Team Canada's pre-Olympic season. The two teams will play again Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Father David Bauer Arena. Over the next four months, the four-time Women's World Champions play 27 games against international opponents, including its top competition for the gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan -- the United States and Finland.
The Chinese, seeded fourth in the Olympic Women's Hockey Tournament following a fourth-place finish at the 1997 Women's World Hockey Championship, matched goals with the host Canadians early, but were outplayed by a wide margin and outshot 49-20 in the game.
James gave Canada a 1-0 lead after just 38 seconds of play when she banged in Nystrom's rebound after the pair had swept in on the Chinese net on a two-on-one. But China tied it at 2:11 of the opening period when Hong's bad-angle shot slid past starting goaltender Lesley Reddon.
Letendre made it 2-1 for Canada at 5:25, but just 59 seconds later Xiuqing scored a pretty goal on a breakaway as she rang a high wrist shot off the goal post and past Reddon to tie the game 2-2. But Nystrom put Canada ahead to stay at 12:59 of the opening period, finishing off a three-way passing play involving Botterill and defender Rebecca Fahey of Sackville, NB.
James's power-play goal on a setup from Nystrom and defender Rebecca Fahey of Sackville, NB, had the only goal of the second period. Botterill, with a goal just 59 seconds into the third period, and Hefford on the power play at 9:58 of the final period, finished the scoring in the game.