Team USA got out to an early lead in its opening game of the 2022 IIHF Women’s World Championship and never looked back.
The U.S. women’s hockey team defeated Japan, 10-0, with goals from nine different American players. It was Kelly Pannek who found the back of the net first, putting the U.S. up 1-0 just over six minutes into the first period.
Alex Carpenter scored two goals, while Caroline Harvey, Hannah Bilka, Amanda Kessel, Lacey Eden, Abby Roque, Hayley Scamurra, and Rory Guilday also added tallies.
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Japanese goalies Akane Konishi and Miyuu Masuhara split time in net, making 30 and 22 saves, respectively. Nicole Hensley played all three periods in goal for the U.S., recording six saves.
The U.S. team’s newest players had an especially impressive showing. Competing in her first ever game for the U.S. national team — and only one day after arriving in Denmark due to time spent in Covid protocols — Taylor Heise recorded five assists and was named U.S. player of the game.
Harvey recorded over 19 minutes of playing time (second-most for Team USA skaters, behind only Megan Keller), a sharp contrast to the Winter Olympics six months ago, where her playing time was much more limited.
“Definitely a different role right now,” the 19-year-old Harvey said of her increased on-ice presence. “Just with a new coach (John Wroblewski)… I feel like he has a lot of confidence in us and knowing I can play my game.”
Harvey also had a particularly pretty goal (video embedded below), admitting after that the move was one she practiced “a little.”
— USA Hockey (@usahockey) August 25, 2022
Like Heise, Wroblewski was delayed in arriving to Denmark due to a positive Covid test. (Goalie Aerin Frankel was also held back in the U.S., but is expected to arrive by tomorrow, according to USA Hockey.)
“This team has had to adjust and adapt a lot these last few years,” Coyne Schofield said of Wroblewski’s time in isolation, citing how the team’s assistant coaches stepped up in his absence. “(It’s) a next-person up mentality.”
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Despite the lopsided result, Japan is still taking something away from Thursday’s loss. This year’s tournament marks the nation’s first time competing in group A since the two-tiered pool system was introduced.
“It’s definitely a big step for us,” alternate captain Akane Hosoyamada said. “We’re gonna soak in everything. Every play, every battle.”
“They are a team that is extremely disciplined and you are going to have to put your best foot forward because they are going to outwork you if you let them outwork you,” Coyne Schofield said of the Japanese team’s efforts. “That was something we talked about going in: we’re not going to let anyone outwork us. We know how hard Japan works and that was evident through 60 minutes.”
The U.S. is likely to face tougher challenges from its other group A opponents. Next up for Team USA is Finland on Saturday (9am ET, NHL Network).
“This was a good start, but we can’t be satisfied,” Coyne Schofield said.
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