CANADA THUMPS CHINA 13-1 TO OPEN WOMEN'S WORLD HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP
HÄMEENLINNA, Finland (CP) – Canada opened the 2009 women's world hockey championship with a 13-1 win against
overmatched China on Saturday.
Rebecca Johnston, Hayley Wickenheiser, Gillian Apps and Sarah Vaillancourt led the goalscoring with a pair
apiece. Canada spread the rest of the scoring out among Carla MacLeod, Caroline Ouellette, Marie-Philip
Poulin, Meghan Agosta and Haley Irwin.
Wickenheiser and Vaillancourt had five-point games with three assists each to go with their two goals. Irwin
had a four-point performance in her world championship debut as she also had three assists in addition to her
Ouellette had two assists and Jennifer Botterill's two pushed her past a career 100 in her 160th game.
Goaltender Charline Labonte faced only four shots for the victory. Canada pelted Chinese counterpart Yao Shi
with 41 shots before she was replaced late in the second period by Dandan Jia, who faced 35 for a total of
Canada meets Sweden on Monday in Pool B play of the preliminary round. The Swedes beat Canada for the first
time at the Four Nations Cup in November with a 3-2 overtime win.
The nine-time champion Canadians are attempting to reclaim the world title they lost to the U.S. last year in
Canada set team records Saturday for the fastest two and three goals scored in history. MacLeod and then
Ouellette struck within 10 seconds of each other starting at 3:53 of the first period to better the previous
record of 11 seconds. Vaillancourt made it three goals in a span of 46 seconds to beat the previous top time
of 55 seconds.
Sun Rui scored China's first goal against Canada in nine years at 14:05 of the first period. She knocked down
a floating pass from Jin Fengling to beat Labonte on China's second shot of the game for a power-play
While the score more lopsided than Canada's 11-0 win over China last year in Harbin, it reflected the large
gap that still exists between the world's top four teams and the rest of the field.
The disparity in international hockey development isn't a condition exclusive to women as Canada's under-20
men's team thumped Kazakhstan 15-0 at the world junior championship in Ottawa in December.
China has less than 200 female players compared to over 77,000 in Canada. While Chinese government began
putting more resources into its women's hockey team to qualify for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, China head
coach Paul Strople of Halifax says his team's goal at these world championships is simply to avoid being one
of two teams relegated to the world 'B' championship in 2011.
The Canadians were faster to the loose puck and stronger protecting it so China rarely had it. The majority
of the game was played in China's end as the Canadians cycled the puck almost at will.
With new personnel on the Canadian team, head coach Melody Davidson had Jayna Hefford centring a line with
Apps and Wickenheiser. Ouellette, moving back to forward from defence, and Gina Kingsbury flanked Botterill.
Irwin played between Agosta and Vaillancourt. Meaghan Mikkelson, who also moved up to forward from defence,
Johnston and Poulin rounded out the forward lines.
Gillian Ferrari and Catherine Ward, Carla MacLeod and Sostorics, Becky Kellar and Tessa Bonhomme were the
Notes: Poulin of Beauceville, Que., became the third-youngest to play for Canada at a world championship or
an Olympic Games at 18 years, seven months. Hayley Wickenheiser (15 at 1994 worlds) and Cheryl Pounder (17 at
1994 worlds) were the youngest … Poulin, Irwin of Thunder Bay, Ont., and Montreal defenceman Ward all made
their world championship debuts Saturday.