Date: November 5, 2016

Italy strengthen Pyeongchang 2018 qualification hopes with second win

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By Max Winters – Inside The Games

Italy made it two wins out of two in Group H of the Pyeongchang 2018 women’s ice hockey Olympic qualifying preliminary round two tournament in the Spanish city of San Sebastián today.

On the opening day of action at the Palacio del Hielo Txuri Urdin yesterday, Italy defeated Spain 2-0 and further strengthened their qualification hopes with a second win today.

Slovenia were their victims as they were well beaten 8-1.

Michelle Masperi opened the scoring after three minutes before a strike from Federica Zandegiacomo Mistrotofolo doubled the Italians’ advantage.

Pia Pren pulled one back for the Slovenians but that would be their only moment of promise for the rest of the encounter.

Linda de Rocco made it 3-1 to Italy in the second period before the floodgates opened in the final third.

Italy sealed the victory through two goals from Chelsea Furlani and solo strikes by Eleonora Dalpra, Nadia Mattivi and Silvia Carignano completed the rout.

In the second match of today, Spain suffered their second defeat in two days after they were beaten by The Netherlands 2-0.

The Dutch team got their Group H campaign off to a flying start yesterday as they thrashed a hapless Slovenian side 14-1 and they made it two out of two this evening.

It means The Netherlands will meet Italy for the chance to win the group and progress to the next stage of Olympic qualifying. 

Julie Zwarthoed opened the scoring late in the first period before Anne Hardenbol added the second to secure the win.

Group G, which is currently taking place in Astana in Kazakhstan, saw no action today but will continue tomorrow.

Mexico take on Poland and Britain face Kazakhstan in the final round of matches.

Winners of both groups will progress to preliminary round three, the penultimate qualifying round.

Two final groups to decide Pyeongchang places will then be held in February.

USA offense explodes, earns revenge against Canada to win Four Nations Cup

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The United States women’s national hockey team won the Four Nations Cup, 5-3, over Canada on Saturday afternoon thanks to an offensive burst in the third period. Forward Hilary Knight scored twice in the four-team tournament final. Defenseman Emily Pfalzer and forwards Brianna Decker and Kelli Stack all added goals of their own to win Four Nations for the second year in a row.

Both teams earned four penalties in the first two periods, with the game officials calling the game very tightly. Neither team was able to capitalize on the power play. Canada struck first in the game, with Marie-Philip Poulin scoring 3 minutes 40 seconds into the game, with assists from Natalie Spooner and Laura Fortino. Poulin would also add Canada’s consolation goal deep into the third period.

Laura Stacey tied the game up early in the third period for Canada, but it took less than a minute for Decker to reclaim the lead for the U.S. Knight added her goal three minutes later after Meghan Duggan produced a timely poke check at the blue line. Stack wrapped up scoring for the United States two minutes after that, and effectively took Canada out of the game despite eight minutes remaining on the clock.

Neither of the USA and Canada battles in this edition of the Four Nations Cup indicated the full potential of either team, though there were certainly some moments of brilliance from both. The final wasn’t a showcase game for either the USA’s Alex Rigsby nor Canada’s Emerance Maschmeyer.

The bigger question for the United States out of these two back-to-back games against Canada: consistency and passing.  The team looked gassed for Friday’s final round-robin match, but the sloppiness in passing continued into Saturday’s game until the third period. Lapses in the U.S. defense directly resulted in most of Canada’s goals over the two days, and shouldn’t be blamed on testing out new defensemen pairs.

The third period looked like USA Hockey, and couldn’t have come at a better time. The United States also held Canada to silver for the fourth time in four tournaments.

The teams will get another look at each other next month when Canada visits the USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich., on Dec. 17. The game between Canada and the U.S. is part of the first Team USA Winter Champions Series.

Slovakia With Deutschland Cup Advantage

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By Steven Ellis – Eurohockey.com

Slovakia will head into the final day of the Deutschland Cup with an advantage thanks to a 4-3 shootout victory over Canada on Saturday.

With both teams starting the three-game tournament with a victory on Friday, a win on Saturday meant that one of the two would have a very good chance at winning the tournament. Canada was the first to strike in the game, as Kevin Clark took a good pass by Nick Petersen in the slot and beat Jaroslav Janus with the one-timer to make it 1-0 for the Canadians at the 7:49 mark.

The Slovaks bounced back at the halfway mark of the period. Andrej Kudrna did a great job of forcing a turnover in the neutral zone before taking the puck near the Canadian net. Pondering his options, Kudrna made a quick sidestep before sending the puck over to Martin Gernat, who fired a hard wrist shot in the back of the net for the 1-1 goal.

Just a minute into the second, the Slovaks thought they had the go-ahead goal. A big scramble in front of the net did result in the puck going in, with Eduard Sedivy being the skater to tap in the puck. The goal was waved-off due to goalie interference, however, as there were multiple players around Barry Brust that made it tough for him to move around.

A barrage of goals in the middle of the second made things extra exciting. Slovakia would indeed take the lead after Kudrna made it 2-1 with a wicked wrist shot, stealing the puck once again from the neutral zone for the shorthanded goal at 11:51.

Then, about 40 seconds later, Canada tied it up again. Matt Ellison would do the honours, taking a pass from Chay Genoway in front before tapping it in on the open cage, making it 2-2.

But Slovakia battled back to regain their lead. This time, Adam Janosik used a screen in front to beat Brust, sending a well-placed wrist shot on net, only to have Brust get a piece of it and deflect it in the net.

Canada came to win, and they knew they`d have a tough time taking the overall title if they didn`t win on Saturday. At 7:46 in the third, Greg Scott tied the game up at three after taking a pass from Clark and sending it past Janus for the 3-3 marker. 

The game couldn’t be decided after 60 minutes, and no winner was crowned in overtime. 

The final day of the Deutschland Cup will take place on Sunday, with Slovakia in the drivers seat right now. If Canada fails to get three points against Germany tomorrow, Slovakia can pull off the victory, assuming Switzerland doesn’t win today and then again tomorrow. If Canada wins in 60 minutes and Slovakia falls to Switzerland in regulation, then Canada would have the tiebreaker.

Dutch begin Pyeongchang 2018 round two qualifying tournament in emphatic style

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Savine Wielenga scored five as the Dutch team thrashed
their opponents ©IIHF

By Max Winters – Inside The Game

The Netherlands got their Pyeongchang 2018 women’s ice hockey Olympic qualifying preliminary round two tournament in San Sebastián off to a flying start today as they thrashed a hapless Slovenian side 14-1.

Five goals from Savine Wielenga as well as three by Mieneke de Jong set the Dutch team on their way to an emphatic opening game win.

Elsewhere on the opening day of action in Group H at the Palacio del Hielo Txuri Urdin the hosts Spain lost to Italy 2-0 in a disappointing result.

An opening goal from Samantha Gius gave the Italians the advantage before Eleonora Dalpra doubled their advantage to give them the perfect start.

In tomorrow’s action in Group H, Spain take on The Netherlands while Italy take on Slovenia.

Elsewhere, Great Britain were beaten 4-3 by Poland today on the second day of action in Group G in Astana.

The match in Kazakhstan was the second of the tournament, with only the top team from each group of four progressing to the next qualification stage.

After recording a last-minute 3-2 win over Mexico yesterday, Britain failed to maintain their good form after twice conceding a two-goal lead to the Polish.

Magdalena Czaplik put the Poles ahead on 12 minutes while Karolina Pozniewska doubled their lead just 21 seconds later.

Britain levelled in the second period with Kimberley Lane narrowing the deficit before Shannon Douglas equalised.

However, Joanna Strzelecka’s powerplay strike just two minutes later gave the Poles the lead at the close of the second period before Kamila Wieczorek scored the crucial fourth in the 45th minute.

A captain’s goal from Katie Henry in the 59th minute proved to be nothing more than a consolation for Britain who must now beat Kazakhstan to have any chance of advancing.

The hosts, though, produced another superb display to pick up their second win in as many days.

Kazakhstan powered to a 4-1 success over Poland yesterday and were once again victorious today with a comfortable 3-1 win over Mexico.

Goals in the first period from Bulbul Kartanbayeva and Karina Felzink gave the Kazakhs a 2-0 lead before Pernesh Ashimova added a third in the second stanza.

Maria Chavez scored a consolation late on for the Mexicans.

There is a rest day tomorrow in Astana before Mexico take on Poland and Britain face Kazakhstan in the final round of matches on Sunday (November 6).

Winners of both groups will progress to preliminary round three, the penultimate qualifying round.

Two final groups to decide Pyeongchang places will then be held in February.

Blue Jackets set franchise record with 10-goal destruction of Canadiens

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The Columbus Blue Jackets established a new franchise mark for goals in a game Friday night in a 10-0 dismantling of the Montreal Canadiens.

Scott Hartnell‘s second of the game made it 9-0 for the Blue Jackets midway through the third period, breaking the club’s previous record of eight goals in a single contest.

Josh Anderson‘s second gave Columbus a 10-0 lead less than three minutes later

The Blue Jackets also tied a franchise record for goals in a period with five in the second frame, a feat they last achieved against the Minnesota Wild in 2003, according to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch.

Columbus scored eight goals in a game three other times in franchise history, most recently in an 8-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Nov. 10, 2010.

Hartnell, Anderson, Cam Atkinson, and Nick Foligno all scored two goals apiece in the victory.

Canadiens backup goaltender Al Montoya allowed all 10 Blue Jackets markers, starting in place of Carey Price on the first night of a back-to-back.

Columbus handed Montreal its first regulation loss of the season and dropped them to 9-1-1 while improving to 5-3-1.

A blowout of this magnitude was bound to produce plenty of noteworthy nuggets, and Friday’s 10-0 rout of the Montreal Canadiens by the Columbus Blue Jackets certainly did.

Worst Canadiens shutout loss in nearly 75 years

1st 10-goal NHL shutout in more than 2 decades

1st non-playoff double-digit NHL game in more than five years