VIERUMAKI, Finland -- Hayley Wickenheiser of Calgary scored once and assisted on another goal as Canada's Women's Olympic Hockey Team defeated the Swedish Women's National Team 5-3 at a three-nation tournament on Thursday.
Geraldine Heaney of Weston, ON, Kathy McCormack of Fredericton, NB, Danielle Goyette of St-Nazaire, QC and Jayna Hefford of Kingston, ON also scored for Canada in the tournament opener for them. It was the second straight defeat for the Swedes, who were blanked 5-0 by the host Finnish National Women's Team on Wednesday.
Canada plays Finland for the first time today in this double round-robin tournament, which will see Canada play Sweden again on Nov. 17 and the Finns on Nov. 18. The tournament final is on Thursday, Nov. 20.
All the scoring in Wednesday's game occurred during the second period, in which Canada outshot the Swedes 20-4. Wickenheiser opened the scoring on a feed from Therese Brisson of Fredericton, NB at 1:39 of the middle period. That goal was answered by Sweden's Erika Holst, who beat starting goalie Lesley Reddon of Fredericton, NB at 3:45. Just 30 seconds later, Heaney re-established Canada's one-goal lead, only to see that advantage wiped out by Sweden's Linda Gustavsson at 7:13.
McCormack made it 3-2 Canada when she scored at 11:59 and Goyette padded Canada's lead with a goal at 13:03. Hefford added insurance on a feed from Wickenheiser at 17:14. Lotta Almblad pulled the Swedes within two goals at 19:28 of the final period when she beat Manon Rhéaume, who replaced Reddon at the start of the third period.
The Finns are seeded third at the upcoming first-ever women's hockey tournament at the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, while the Swedes will enter that tournament ranked fifth. Bronze medalists at all four Women's World Hockey Championship tournaments, including the 1997 Women's World's in Kitchener, ON last April, the Finns will play against Canada and the U.S. in the 3 Nations' Tournament in the Lake Placid, NY area from Dec. 13-20, the last major tournament prior to the Olympic competition.
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