JASON LA ROSE
KAMLOOPS, B.C. – Jennifer Wakefield (Pickering, Ont./Linköping HC, SWE) had two goals and two assists, propelling Canada’s National Women’s Team past Finland 6-1 on Thursday night and into the semifinals at the 2016 IIHF Women’s World Championship.
The Canadians will face the winner of the Finland-Czech Republic quarter-final in Sunday’s semis (10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT).
Marie-Philip Poulin (Beauceville, Que./Montreal, CWHL), Rebecca Johnston (Sudbury, Ont./Calgary, CWHL), Brianne Jenner (Oakville, Ont./Calgary, CWHL), and Jill Saulnier (Halifax, N.S./Calgary, CWHL) had the other goals for the Canadians, who took the lead very early and never looked back.
Johnston added two assists, and has a tournament-leading seven points in three games.
Poulin didn’t waste any time getting the 4,234 fans at the Sandman Centre excited, taking a perfect feed from Meghan Agosta (Ruthven, Ont.) and beating Finnish netminder Meeri Raisanen just 64 seconds in.
That would be it for scoring in the period, despite Canada holding a 14-6 advantage in shots on goal in the opening 20 minutes; overall, Canada outshot the Finns by a one-sided 41-19 margin.
Just as they did in their win over Russia on Tuesday, the Canadians exploded offensively in the second period.
Johnston made it 2-0 at 8:04, jamming in a puck at the side of the net on a Canadian power play, but the Finns struck back 18 seconds later; Petra Nieminen beat netminder Emerance Maschmeyer (Bruderheim, Alta./Harvard University, ECAC) only three seconds into a man advantage.
It was all Canada after that. Jenner scooped up a loose puck behind the net and tucked in the 3-1 goal at 13:35, Saulnier hammered a slap shot past Raisanen at 14:33, and Wakefield jumped on a turnover in the Finnish end at 16:06 to put Canada up 5-1 after two periods.
Raisanen was replaced by Anni Keisala to start the third after giving up five goals on 32 shots.
Wakefield finished the scoring with less than two minutes to go in the final frame, wiring a wrist shot off the post and in to the far side of Keisala on another Canadian power play.
Maschmeyer made 18 saves to record her first-ever win at the world championship.
“I think this was our best team game and it was really good to carry through the momentum. We played a really strong Russia game, and then taking the next step tonight, I think it will be great for whoever we face in the semifinals.”
– Wakefield on Canada’s performance against Finland
“With these last couple of games, we have a lot of confidence going forward, so no matter who we play we’re not going to change our game plan – we’re going to stick to our game.”
– Maschmeyer on looking ahead to the semifinals
“Tonight I was really happy with our overall performance. It was probably the most consistent game for us, but we still need to work on our discipline and make sure that we stay out of the box moving forward.”
– Head coach Laura Schuler (Scarborough, Ont.) on what Canada needs to work on heading into the semifinals