Canada 12 - Switzerland 0
CANADA WINS 12-0 AT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP ON HISTORIC NIGHT IN SWISS WOMEN'S HOCKEYHISTORY
WINTERTHUR, Switzerland _ The Swiss may have lost 12-0 to Canada to start the women's worldhockey championship Saturday, but it felt like a win for them in one way.
Switzerland is hosting the women's tournament for the first time and is the first central Europeancountry to do so.
They had a sellout crowd loudly supporting them and waving Swiss flags throughout the game, even when thescore got out of hand. The Swiss women received a rousing standing ovation after the buzzer.
In a country where women's hockey has been lightly-regarded, it meant the world to captain Kathrin Lehmannto feel the support and appreciation of her countrymen and countrywomen.
“It was just a tremendous big night for us,” said Lehmann. “We knew that the first time in Swiss history anational (women's) game will be sold out. All the love we got from the spectators, we wanted to giveback.
“I think the people will come back and that was our biggest goal during this tournament, to show younggirls how much fun it is to play hockey and convince parents and clubs who also deny women's hockey. Tonightwe made a big step and it was great that Canada was here so people could see what the world's best playerscan show.”
The Canadian women felt, and could see in their opponents' faces, this was a monumental night in Swisswomen's hockey no matter what the score.
“They were proud to be wearing their jerseys,” defender Tessa Bonhomme said. “You could definitely feel alittle bit of adrenaline and a good energy in the rink.
“I'm glad they kept playing to the buzzer. We like to see they still had a fire lit under them and werestill competing. We're proud of them for that.”
Cherie Piper paced Canada's attack with a hat trick. Bonhomme had a four-point night with a goal and threeassists.
The rest of Canada's production came from eight other goalscorers: Jayna Hefford, Hayley Irwin, HayleyWickenheiser, Meaghan Mikkelson, Gillian Apps, Rebecca Johnston, Marie-Philip Poulin and Jennifer Wakefield.Megan Agosta had three assists.
Charline Labonte stopped 19 shots for the win. The Canadians have less than 24 hours before their nextgame versus Kazakhstan on Sunday when Kim St. Pierre will start in net.
The five Canadian players who made their world championship debut all had at least one point. TaraWatchorn had a pair of assists. Bobbi-Jo Slusar, Jocelyne Larocque and Natalie Spooner each had an assist andWakefield scored her goal.
In an earlier Pool B game, Olympic bronze medallist Finland downed Kazakhstan 5-3. Pool A games getunderway Sunday in Zurich with two-time defending world champion U.S. taking on Slovakia and Sweden facingRussia.
When International Ice Hockey Federation president Jacques Rogges said following last year's WinterOlympics that women's hockey had to become more competitive, it galvanized the International Ice HockeyFederation to put together a four-year plan for the sport.
Developing a following of fans and young girls who want to try hockey is the foundation of success for anyfemale sport.
The Swiss seeds may have been planted Saturday at Eishalle Deutweg, where almost 3,000 fans wereentertained by what they watched. Tournament chairman Fredy Weisser was grinning ear to ear.
“When you see these fans here, when they actually watch the game, they give us a lot more credit and itgives validity to the game,” Piper said. “They're working hard and we're working hard as well. People need tocome out and actually see it.”
Switzerland is ranked fifth in the world and finished fifth at the Olympics. They lost 10-1 to Canadaat the Games and that marked the first time they scored a goal versus Canada.
Canada gave Swiss goaltender Florence Schelling and Sophie Anthamatten a workout with 55 shots on net.While the Swiss desperately wanted to score a goal for the home crowd, the goaltender tandem made someentertaining saves.
Schelling plays college hockey for Northeastern in Boston and had the third-highest save percentage atlast year's Winter Olympics. After allowing six goals, she was replaced by Sophie Anthamatten. The finalminutes were chippy with extra stickwork as the Swiss didn't want to go down without a fight.
“The spectators saw that we fought to the end no matter what is on the scoreboard,” said Lehmann, who notonly plays club hockey for MEK Munich, but is also a goalkeeper for FC Bayern's women's soccer team.
The Canadian team was surprised to see green pucks on the ice for their pre-game warmup. It is part of theIIHF's anti-doping campaign and the green pucks were introduced at last year's men's world championships.
Labonte was relieved to see the regulation black pucks flying at her during the game and not the
But Bonhomme liked them so much, she took one.
“I stole one just to tweet about it later,” she said. “They felt different, but it was a neat surprise
andsomething we've never seen before.”
Notes _ Canada is 4-0-0 versus Switzerland in world championship play . . . Piper scored her38th, 39th and 40th career goals in her 106th game for Canada.
|Arena||Eishalle Deutweg||City, Country||Winterthur, SUI|
|Month / Day / Year||04/16/2011||Time||02:00 PM ET|
10:42 CAN 7 Cherie Piper (2 Meghan Agosta, 14 Bobbi Jo Slusar)
16:02 CAN 21 Haley Irwin (6 Rebecca Johnston, 3 Jocelyne Larocque) SH
18:33 CAN 22 Hayley Wickenheiser (2 Meghan Agosta) SH
03:01 CAN 12 Meaghan Mikkelson (22 Hayley Wickenheiser)
06:33 CAN 10 Gillian Apps (25 Tessa Bonhomme) PP
09:04 CAN 6 Rebecca Johnston (15 Tara Watchorn, 21 Haley Irwin) PP
14:30 CAN 29 Marie-Philip Poulin (26 Sarah Vaillancourt, 18 Catherine Ward)
14:40 CAN 20 Jennifer Wakefield (25 Tessa Bonhomme)
01:57 CAN 7 Cherie Piper (24 Natalie Spooner, 25 Tessa Bonhomme) PP
02:40 CAN 16 Jayna Hefford (2 Meghan Agosta)
14:29 CAN 7 Cherie Piper
19:33 CAN 25 Tessa Bonhomme (10 Gillian Apps, 15 Tara Watchorn) PP
|Shots on Goal||1||2||3||Total|