CANADA BEATS FINNS, STAYS PERFECT IN PRELIMS
JASON LA ROSE
GANGNEUNG, South Korea - Meghan Agosta (Ruthven, Ont.) and Mélodie Daoust (Valleyfield, Que./Montreal, CWHL) had a goal and an assist apiece to pace the offence, helping Canada's Women's Olympic Team earn a 4-1 win over Finland on Tuesday at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
The Canadians took a huge step towards clinching a semifinal spot with their 22nd-straight Olympic win.
The line of Agosta, Daoust and captain Marie-Philip Poulin (Beauceville, Que./Montreal, CWHL) has been lights-out for Canada; they combined for three goals and five points against the Finns, and have 11 points through two games.
The trio needed only 35 seconds to open the scoring; Daoust picked off a pass in the neutral zone before setting up Agosta for the tap-in with a perfect cross-crease feed.
Poulin made it a 2-0 game late in the first period, capitalizing on a turnover deep in the Finnish zone and going upstairs on the backhand to beat goaltender Noora Räty with an unassisted effort.
Video review confirmed the goal, sending Canada to the dressing room up two.
Daoust, who scored twice in a tournament-opening win over the Olympic Athletes from Russia, added her third of the tournament just past the eight-minute mark of the second period, wiring a wrist shot to the far side past a screened Räty.
Jillian Saulnier (Halifax, N.S./Calgary, CWHL) made good on a breakaway with less than two minutes left in the middle frame to extend the Canadian lead to 4-0 after 40 minutes.
The Finns picked up their game in the third period, recording 13 of their 23 shots in the final stanza, but Canadian netminder Shannon Szabados (Edmonton, Alta.) was up to the task, keeping her team comfortably ahead.
Riikka Valila knocked a rebound past Szabados at 7:17 of the third to ruin the shutout, but that would be it for offence from the Scandinavians.
Canada wraps up the preliminary round on Wednesday night (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT), taking on the United States in another meeting of the only two countries to win Olympic women's hockey gold.