In her first Olympics, Canada’s Sarah Fillier is quickly proving she belongs.
The 21-year-old Georgetown, Ont., native scored twice, Sarah Nurse and Brianne Jenner each recorded hat tricks and the Canadian women’s hockey team stormed past Finland with an 11-1 victory on Saturday at the Wukesong Sports Centre in Beijing.
Canada improved to 2-0 with the win, while Finland fell to 0-2.
For the second straight game, Fillier got the scoring started for the Canadians as part of a two-goal performance.
Just 61 seconds in, she picked the glove-side corner against Finnish goaltender Meeri Raisanen following a feed into the slot from linemate Natalie Spooner, who recorded four assists to reach nine total points through just two games. Fillier struck 64 seconds into Canada’s 12-1 win over Switzerland two days ago.
SARAH FILLIER! What a shot ????????<br><br>The Canadian forward continues to impress in her first Olympic Games making it 1-0 early <a href=”https://t.co/9e9q5hdQvs”>pic.twitter.com/9e9q5hdQvs</a>
Nurse, of Burlington, Ont., doubled Canada’s lead later in the first period, capitalizing on a turnover from Finnish defender Sanni Rantali in her own zone and firing a slap shot into the back of the net.
Finland answered near the end of the frame when defender Minnamari Tuominen sent a wrist shot from the blue line past Canadian goalie Ann-Renée Desbiens.
But Fillier and Nurse made sure it never got closer than that.
Fillier added her second of the game in the middle frame, taking a pass from defender Renata Fast and tapping a backhand over Raisanen’s shoulder with her back turned toward the net.
The 27-year-old Nurse quickly followed suit with her second, finding herself open in the slot once again and firing a wrister home to extend Canada’s lead to 4-1.
Another beauty for Sarah Nurse and another assist for Spooner who now has 8 points ????<br><br>The pass, the touch and the finish ???? ???????? 4-1 ????????<br><br>WATCH: <a href=”https://t.co/SOBX6Tlrpt”>https://t.co/SOBX6Tlrpt</a> <a href=”https://t.co/Khji9k9X1m”>pic.twitter.com/Khji9k9X1m</a>
Jenner, 30, then put the game out of hand with two of her own. First, she snuck a shot just underneath Raisanen’s pads. Then, the Toronto native piled on with an odd-looking marker on a seemingly innocuous play where her backhand from atop the circle bounced off a Finnish player and into the net.
She later wired a wrister past Finnish backup goalie Anni Keisala, who replaced Raisanen in the third period, to complete the hat trick.
Nurse also converted her hat trick in the third period after putting a beautiful cross-crease feed from defender Erin Ambrose into the back of the net.
Raisanen made 28 saves through two periods, while Keisala added nine in the final frame.
Desbiens replied with 28 stops of her own for Canada.
Forward Jamie Lee Rattray, who’s been all around the net through two games, was finally rewarded in the third period for the first goal of her Olympic career.
Laura Stacey also put together her second consecutive two-goal game.
Daoust misses game, listed as day-to-day
And her performance was made all the more impressive given the absence of her linemate Mélodie Daoust, who led the world championships in both goals and points last August.
Daoust, 30, of Valleyfield, Que., was held out of the lineup after suffering an injury in the second period of Canada’s 12-1 victory over Switzerland.
WATCH | Daoust exits Switzerland game following 2nd period hit:
“Mélodie continues to be assessed by our medical team and will be evaluated on a day-to-day basis before determining a timetable for her return,” director of hockey operations Gina Kingsbury said. “We anticipate she will be able to return to compete at some point during the Olympic tournament.”
Other than the U.S., Finland represents Canada’s toughest competition in Beijing. The Finns are the reigning bronze medallists, and knocked Canada off in the semifinals of the 2019 world championships. However, Canada was 6-0 all-time in Olympic play against Finland entering Saturday’s contest.
Finland also experienced some turmoil behind the bench after head coach Pasi Mustonen left China yesterday to return home and attend to a family emergency. Assistant coach Juuso Toivola took over against Canada.
Finland dropped its tournament opener 5-2 against the Americans, who take the ice later Saturday in Beijing against the Russian Olympic Committee.
Canada wraps up round-robin play with games on Sunday against the Russians and Monday against the U.S. at 11:10 p.m. ET on CBC. All five teams in Group A automatically advance to the knockout rounds.
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