The opening day of Olympic women’s hockey action provided a showcase of recent Minnesota-Duluth stars, no matter which nations were on the ice.
The onslaught started with current UMD freshman Mari Pehkonen scoring the first goal of the Olympics for Finland in a 3-0 win over Germany, and the Bulldog success never let up. Maria Rooth (UMD ’03) was the top scorer for Sweden in a 3-1 win over Russia, Jenny Potter (UMD ’04) was the top scorer for the U.S. in a 6-0 win over Switzerland, and Caroline Ouellette (UMD ’05) needed just 6:53 to compile the fastest hat trick in Olympic history in Canada’s 16-0 win over Italy. Patricia Elsmore-Sautter (UMD ’05) provided the day’s best goaltending performance with 50 saves for Switzerland against the U.S.
The U.S. resumes action Sunday against Germany at 1 p.m. ET. Canada plays Russia at 10:30 a.m.
Canada 16, Italy 0
The hosts, who qualified automatically, were no match for the defending Olympic champions, who won by the largest margin in Olympic history. Dartmouth senior Cherie Piper led all scorers with six assists, but Ouellette’s quick hat trick was the game’s standout achievement.
Ouellette scored the game’s first goal on a tough-angle off a feed from Jayna Hefford behind the net. She made the score 2-0 on the same shift just 16 seconds later by converting another feed from Hefford in transition at the crease. Ouellette converted a pass to the deep slot from two-time Kazmaier winner Jennifer Botterill (Harvard ’03) at the end line for Canada’s fourth goal. Ouellette finished with three goals and two assists for the night.
The Italy game offered several younger Canadian players the opportunity to score their first Olympic goals. Dartmouth senior Gillian Apps had two goals and three assists, Carla MacLeod (Wisconsin ’05) had a goal and two assists, Harvard sophomore Sarah Vaillancourt had a goal and an assist, and Dartmouth senior Katie Weatherston had one goal.
United States 6, Switzerland 0
For the first two periods, Elsmore-Sautter was the story, as she stopped 18 of 19 shots in the first period and 13 of 14 in the second to keep the game close, but the U.S. poured on four goals in the third period to put the game out of reach.
The Americans’ two oldest players netted the first two goals. Potter fed Katie King (Brown ’97) from behind the net to set up the game’s first goal. Tricia Dunn-Luoma (UNH ’96) intercepted a pass on a 5-on-3 to break in free for the game’s second goal.
2005 Kazmaier winner Krissy Wendell (Minnesota ’05) led all goal scorers with two in the third period. She converted a give-and-go with 2004 Kazmaier winner Angela Ruggiero (Harvard ’04) for the 3-0 U.S. lead and did the same with Potter on the Americans’ fifth goal.
Incoming Dartmouth freshman Sarah Parsons picked up her first Olympic point when she fought through two defenders to get the puck to Natalie Darwitz (Minnesota ’05) for a patient finish in front for the 4-0 lead. Potter scored on a feed from Ruggiero to complete a four point (1G, 3A) evening.
Chanda Gunn (Northeastern ’04) earned the shutout in her first Olympic start.
Sweden 3, Russia 1
Rooth was the top standout for the Swedes, once they got going. Less than two minutes after the Swedes went ahead 1-0 on the power play early in the second period, Rooth provided a perfect pass to the slot to set up a 2-0 lead less than two minutes later.
With 2-1 lead at the second intermission, Rooth provided the valuable insurance goal just 32 seconds into the third period when her shot from the point was deflected into the net. All three Swedish goals came on the man advantage.
Finland 3, Germany 0
Pehkonen netted the first goal of the Olympics at 8:15 of the first period when she crashed the net and knocked in a rebound with her skate.
Emma Laaksonen (Ohio State ’04) set up Finland’s second goal when her powerful five-on-three shot caromed off the boards behind the net and onto the stick of Heidi Peltarri. Laaksonen was not credited with the assist on the play.