ZLIN, Czech Republic – Olivia Knowles (Campbell River, B.C./Okanagan Hockey Academy, CSSHL) led the way with a goal and an assist, and Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team got its 2017 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship started with a 5-1 win over Sweden on Saturday.
The Canadians got goals from five different players; Ashton Bell (Deloraine, Man./Westman, MFMHL), Brette Pettet (Kentville, N.S./Shattuck-St. Mary’s, USHS), Sarah Fillier (Georgetown, Ont./Oakville, PWHL) and Daryl Watts (Toronto, Ont./Mississauga, PWHL) also earned a spot on the scoresheet.
Emma Buckles (Toronto, Ont./Toronto, PWHL) joined Knowles as multi-point scorers, picking up a pair of assists.
Both teams struggled to find their offensive footing in the first period, managing only five shots apiece, but Hanna Olsson put the Swedes ahead 1-0 with a goal just 3:18 after the puck dropped.
That would be the lone shot to beat Canadian goaltender Danika Ranger (Uxbridge, Ont./Durham West, PWHL) in her international debut, and her team ratcheted up the offence in the second period.
Bell pulled Canada even just past the five-minute mark of the second period; the captain took a long stretch pass from Shelby Wood (Cambridge, Ont./Cambridge, PWHL) and went backhand to forehand before tucking the 1-1 goal around Swedish netminder Anna Amholt.
Pettet gave the Canadians their first lead midway through the middle frame, roofing a one-timer over Amholt, and Fillier converted just nine seconds into a power play to send Canada to the intermission up 3-1.
Canada held a one-sided 17-6 advantage in shots on goal in the second period, and 33-17 overall.
Knowles needed just 17 seconds of the third to make it 4-1, getting a point shot past Amholt, and Watts took a pass from Emma Maltais (Burlington, Ont./Oakville, PWHL) and wired in a wrist shot from the face-off dot to finish the scoring with 8:18 to go.
Canada improved to 6-0 all-time against the Swedes at the U18 world championship, outscoring the Scandinavians 40-5 over that span.
Preliminary-round play continues Sunday in Zlin when the Canadians face off against Russia (9:30 a.m. ET/6:30 a.m. PT).
“I think we had good energy, and we built off the little things we were doing good [tonight]. We came back harder from some of our slower shifts and that really helped us succeed tonight.”
– Alternate captain Olivia Knowles on Canada turning the game around after the first period
“There’s not a whole lot that we would change [from tonight], right from the first pre-competition game we talked about just focusing on us. At these events you’re playing against strong countries and we expect a good game, just like we expected tonight and moving forward we’re going to focus on the little details that will make us better.”
– Head coach Troy Ryan (Spryfield, N.S.) on Canada’s performance against Sweden and looking ahead to Sunday’s game against Russia