ZLIN, Czech Republic – Amy Potomak (Aldergrove, B.C./Pacific, JWHL) broke open a tie game with a power-play goal 5:44 into the third period, and Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team earned its second win in as many days at the 2017 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship, beating Russia 4-2 on Sunday.
The Canadians trailed 2-1 in the second period before running off three unanswered goals to improve to an unblemished 7-0 against the Russians all-time at the world championship.
Alexa Vasko (St. Catharines, Ont./Stoney Creek, PWHL), Audrey-Anne Veillette (Drummondville, Que./Stanstead College, CAHS) and Brette Pettet (Kentville, N.S./Shattuck-St. Mary’s, CAHS) scored the other Canadian goals.
Canada controlled the puck through the first 20 minutes, outshooting the Russians 15-2, but could only manage a single goal; Vasko found a loose puck in the crease and shovelled it past goaltender Valeria Merkusheva for a 1-0 lead.
Oxana Bratisheva tied the game just past the four-minute mark of the second period, getting her stick on a point shot from Alina Orlova, and Alyona Starovoitova came down the right wing and snapped a quick shot past Canadian netminder Edith D’Astous-Moreau (Laval, Que./Nepean, PWHL) four minutes after that to put Russia up 2-1.
But the lead would last only 38 seconds; good work behind the Russian net forced a turnover, and Gabrielle David (Drummondville, Que./Limoilou, CEGEP) found Veillette in front for a quick backhand to tie the game.
Canada’s big line of Potomak, Pettet and Sophie Shirley (Saskatoon, Sask./Okanagan Hockey Academy, CSSHL) went to work in the third period, scoring twice.
The game-winner came with the Canadians enjoying a man advantage; after Pettet and Shirley both had whacks at a bouncing puck, Potomak quickly pulled it to her forehand and beat Merkusheva for a 3-2 lead.
Pettet added insurance less than seven minutes later, finding the rebound of a Shirley shot and knocking in a backhand for the 4-2 goal.
Canada finished with a 45-14 advantage in shots on goal; it has outshot its opposition 78-31 through two games.
The tournament takes a day off Monday before the preliminary round comes to a close Tuesday; the Canadians finish their round-robin schedule with a marquee match-up against the United States (9:30 a.m. ET/6:30 a.m. PT).
“We got off to the start we wanted and the biggest thing was our compete level and funneling pucks to the net; I think we increased that throughout the game greatly. I found that this game we just wanted to battle more and more.”
– Alternate captain Vasko on Canada’s keys to victory
“Coach Ryan has been telling us how important it is to keep improving shift-by-shift throughout the game. I think that we’ve done a good job at just focusing on getting better each time we’re on the ice and I thought we did that [today].”
– Pettet on what lifted Canada over Russia
“The outcome was good [tonight] but I like that there are still some things to work on and that there are positives that we can build on. We have to compete harder on a consistent basis if we’re going to be successful long term throughout this event and I felt that we were able to get the win by competing today in the third period.”
– Head coach Troy Ryan (Spryfield, N.S.) on what Canada will take from this game moving forward