WINTERTHUR, Switzerland – Canada’s National Women’s Team has earned a bye to the semifinals at the 2011 IIHF World Women’s Championship, finishing atop Group B with a 3-0 record. Canada scored victories over Switzerland (12-0), Kazakhstan (7-0) and Finland (2-0) to run its all-time preliminary round record at the IIHF World Women’s Championship to a perfect 35-0 since 1990.
On Tuesday, Canada got a first-period goal from Rebecca Johnston (Sudbury, Ont./Cornell University, ECAC) that was the game’s only goal until Jayna Hefford (Kingston, Ont./Brampton, CWHL) gave the Canadians some insurance with an empty-netter in the final minute to beat the Finns. Shannon Szabados (Edmonton, Alta./Grant MacEwan University, ACAC) made 14 saves for the shutout in her tournament debut as the Canadians got each of their three preliminary round shutouts from a different goaltender – Charline Labonté (Boisbriand, Que./McGill University, CIS) earned the shutout over Switzerland, while Kim St-Pierre (Châteauguay, Que./Montreal, CWHL) blanked Kazakhstan.
Canada will wait until the conclusion of preliminary round play on Wednesday to find out who it will face in Saturday’s semifinal, which can be seen live on TSN and RDS, Hockey Canada’s official broadcasters (check your local listings). With a win, Canada would advance to the gold medal game (Sunday, 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT, TSN/RDS) for the 13th time in as many world championship appearances.
Canada is attempting to win its 10th gold medal all-time at the IIHF World Women’s Championship, having previously won gold in 1990, 1992, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 20. Canada’s National Women’s Team has appeared in every gold medal game since the first IIHF World Women’s Championship in Ottawa, Ont., in 1990, winning silver in 2005, 20, in addition to its nine gold medals.