On Friday night at the CAA Arena in Brampton, Ontario, Canada remained perfect in group play at the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Hockey Championships after beating Czechia 5-1 in their first-ever international meeting.
It was a historic night for the Québec native Marie-Philip Poulin, who scored her 100th goal for Canada. Before the 2023 IIHF Women's World Championship, Poulin led the PWHPA in scoring with 27 points (12G, 15A) en route to a championship with Team Harvey's.
Poulin is the fourth player in Canadian hockey history to reach the milestone alongside Hockey Hall of Famers Hayley Wickenhiser, Jayna Hefford, and Danielle Goyette.
“[It’s] very special. Obviously, every time I have a chance to be surrounded by my teammates, it says it all. When I see the win and how we played, how we came out in the third, it’s something I am very proud of,” Poulin said to TSN reporter Julia Toucheri after the win. “It was a great night with an awesome crowd, and we are on to the next one tomorrow.”
Czechia and Canada Meet For First Time
Poulin’s 100th goal was the first of the contest to give Canada a 1-0 lead over a young scrappy Czech team. Ten minutes after Poulin got Canada on the board, Czechia got their goal from the University of Vermont junior Natálie Mlýnková. It would be Czechia’s only goal in the contest.
Canada also got goals from defender Renata Fast and forwards Blayre Turnbull, Laura Stacey, and a second from Poulin. They finished the game outshooting Czechia 42-15. Goaltender Blanka Škodová was named Player of the Game for Czechia. She has been solid for Czechia, who eeked out a 2-1 OT win against Japan with the help of a 16-save performance in net.
"Honestly, our game yesterday wasn't as good as we thought we were going to be, so today's game we went all in," Czechia defender and 2023 Isobel Cup champion Dominika Lásková told IIHF.com.
"I think we are just going to build off of it, what just happened today, and even though we lost, it's our first time playing Team Canada, and with this score and being this group is just something cool for us. We're just going to try to build off of it and just do better and better next game."
Canada Must Focus on the Details
Despite the win, Canada wasn’t pleased with their early play.
“I think we started sloppy,” said Canadian forward Brianne Jenner told TSN reporter Julia Toucheri after the win. “We weren’t really setting ourselves up for success, and I think the important thing is that we are trying to get better each period and I thought our third period was a lot better.” Jenner assisted both Poulin’s goals against Czechia for her first two points of the 2023 Women’s Worlds.
Poulin, aka Captain Canada, agreed.
“We’ve got to focus on details,” she told TSN, “Obviously [in the] first, second [periods], it was a struggle, and we’re all aware of that, we acknowledge that and now, just how are we gonna respond to it? And that’s what we did in the third, and now we gotta keep moving. Tomorrow’s a big game,” Poulin said.
And it will be a quick turnaround, as Canada will face Japan on Saturday night in their third game of the group stage. Canada faces Japan in the evening game with puck drop at 7:00 pm Eastern. Hungary fell to Sweden 6-2 in the only other game slated for today.
Day Three Scores
Switzerland 1 - United States 9
Abbey Murphy scored her second 2023 IIHF Women's World Championship goal seven seconds into the game. USA had nine different scorers in the contest: Murphy, Caroline Harvey, Hannah Bilka, and Rebecca Gilmore all scored in the first period. Abby Roque and Amanda Kessel scored in the middle frame, while Cayla Barnes and Gabrielle Hughes joined the tally in the third period.
Gilmore, who competes for the Boston Pride in Premier Hockey Federation (PHF), scored her first goal with the senior national team.
The University of Maine junior Rahel Enzler scored the lone goal for Switzerland, which was also their first against the United States in 13 years (Enzler was nine years old).
Finland 3 - Germany 0
Germany was held to 16 shots on goal in their first loss of the 2023 IIHF Women's World Championship. Seven-year SDHL veteran Rosa Lindsted opened the scoring for Finland in her 15th IIHF Women's World Championship tournament.
Twenty-two-year-old winger Emilia Vesa scored the second goal, and SDHL champion (Luleå) Viivi Vainikka scored the third and final goal for the Finns. Leijonat captain veteran Jenni Hiirikoski, who was honored for competing in her 400th international game for Finland. German forward Laura Krug also reached her 100th game for country.
Finland now leads Group B and joins Canada and the United States as the lone undefeated teams through three days of play.
Germany sits in second place and has three total points, alongside Sweden, currently occupying third place in Group B. The United States sits atop Group A with six points and 16:2 goal differential. Canada is in second place with a 9:1 goal differential and Czechia with two wins and two points closes out the top three in Group A.