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Canada advance to semis with an underwhelming win over Sweden

Canada didn’t make it hard for Söderberg, who stopped 54 shots

Olympics: Ice Hockey-Women Quarterfinal - CAN-SWE
Feb 11, 2022; Beijing, China; Team Canada forward Blayre Turnbull (40) shoots the puck on Team Sweden goalkeeper Ida Boman (35) during the third period during the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games at Wukesong Sports Centre.
George Walker IV-USA TODAY Sports

Canada went up against Sweden’s goalie Emma Söderberg and only managed three goals on 57 shots in an impressive night for Söderberg but a frustrating one for the Canadians. Despite the 3-0 shutout win, they struggled to make things hard for Sweden right in front of the net. Canada’s wingers were often in front of the net, but they weren’t doing enough to make sightlines difficult or causing a pileup so thick you can’t see the blue ice. Things we’ve seen them do in big, dominant wins.

Defenders Jocelyn Larocque and Erin Ambrose scored, along with Sarah Potomak who scored a brilliant highlight reel goal in the second. Ann Renée Desbiens stopped all nine shots she faced in the win. Sweden’s second line of Johansson, Ljungblom, and Wikner-Zienkiewicz combined for four shots and had the biggest moments in the game, but it wasn’t enough to get by Desbiens.

Canada released a new forward lineup (listed below), with changes coming to all four lines after the loss to the USA. The new first line of Jenner, Poulin, and Bach each had four shots on goal and combined to contribute on Larocque’s goal. The new fourth line were on the ice for two goals, one on Potomak’s solo effort, but they also deserved credit for causing a mess in front of the net for Erin Ambrose to exploit on her goal. Jessie Eldridge wasn’t on the ice for a goal, but she actually second with seven shots behind Poulin’s nine from the fourth line.

The second line was still confusingly quiet, despite Sarah Nurse coming onto that line to join Sarah Fillier. It might just be me thinking back to the success of that line at the Olympics and thinking they could really use Natalie Spooner right now. Perhaps O’Neill goes up there for the next game or Rattray.

It’s not that they needed this line for this particular game (Nurse and Fillier both looked very dangerous on the power play and individually), but there needs to be a significant improvement ahead of playing the Americans again. This team is good good to just get beaten by a good goalie. They have the ability to make goalies jobs difficult and they need to do that in the semis in their last game before the finals.

Speaking of the semis, Canada will play Czechia on Saturday, either at 8am or at noon, after the Czech upset Finland earlier this morning. USA will play Switzerland, who beat Japan, on the same day at the other start time.

Canada’s Lineup

Forwards

19 Brianne Jenner — 29 Marie-Philip Poulin (C) — 51 Victoria Bach
20 Sarah Nurse — 10 Sarah Fillier — 26 Emily Clark
43 Kristen O’Neill — 40 Blayre Turnbull — 7 Laura Stacey
47 Jamie Lee Rattray — 27 Emma Maltais — 9 Jessie Eldridge
44 Sarah Potomak

Defenders

3 Jocelyne Larocque — 14 Renata Fast
28 Micah Zandee-Hart — 21 Ashton Bell
17 Ella Shelton — 12 Meaghan Mikkelson
23 Erin Ambrose

Goalies

35 Ann Renée Desbiens
38 Emerance Maschmeyer

Sweden’s Lineup

Forwards

26 Hanna Olsson — 19 Sara Hjalmarsson — 29 Olivia Carlsson
16 Linnea Johansson — 25 Lina Ljungblom — 24 Felizia Wikner-Zienkiewicz
11 Josefin Bouveng — 28 Michelle Löwenhielm (C) — 17 Sofie Lundin
13 Emma Murén — 18 Jenny Antonsson — 21 Celine Tedenby
23 Thea Johansson

Defenders

20 Paula Bergström — 12 Maja Nylén Persson
9 Jessica Adolfsson — 3 Anna Kjellbein
10 Mina Waxin — 6 Mira Jungåker
8 Ebba Berglund

Goalies

30 Emma Söderberg
1 Ida Boman

Lineup Changes

Lots of changes for Canada as Victoria Bach got the big promotion up to Canada’s first line, with Sarah Nurse shifting to the second line to help Sarah Fillier and make a duo there. I’ve felt in this tournament that Fillier has been mostly working on her own and hasn’t had her Natalie Spooner to work off. Now she has that with Nurse. Emily Clark also got the promotion from the third line to join the two Sarahs.

The third line was still centred by Turnbull. but the two fourth line wingers, Kristen O’Neill and Laura Stacey, moved up to join her. Jessie Eldridge moved down from the second line to the fourth line to play with Emma Maltais and Jamie Lee Rattray, with Sarah Potomak as the extra forward.

Canada’s defense remained intact, with Ann Renée Desbiens back in the starter’s net after taking the USA game off.

First Period

1-0

Larocque with her first WWC goal! The 34-year-old parent of the blueline took a centering pass from her defense partner Renata Fast, got the puck into her wheelhouse as Jenner was causing a mess in front of the net and scored to open the scoring for Canada. MPP got the secondary assist on the goal late in the first period after Canada had already peppered Sweden 13-0 on shots.

Second Period

Bergström boarding into O’Neill in a similar hit to what Neimanen got suspended for against O’Neill as well. But I think there was enough taken off the push for it not to be a major.

Canada had been given five power plays by the halfway point in the game and they were yet to score on one. Fillier, Nurse, and Poulin all were taking shots and one-timers, but Söderberg was playing extremely well in net to get across and get her hands on the puck.

2-0

SARAH POTOMAK WITH A BEAUTY!!! After getting kicked down to the 13th forward for this game, Potomak picked up the puck in the neutral zone, warmed up the jets, burst past the centre at the offensive blueline, past the defender who missed her before she could even pivot, and put three moves on Söderberg at lightning quick speed before tapping the puck home and doubling the lead for Canada. What. A. Goal.

Third Period

Canada piled on the pressure in the third period after a relatively big pushback in the second period from the Swedes who had seven shots in the second.

3-0

Eventually Erin Ambrose put in another goal after several chances from the fourth line. Ambrose made a big move across the blueline under pressure before taking a shot through the moving screen and in. This was the breathing room Canada needed.

O’Neill got a golden opportunity on a two-on-one with Maltais, but she shot the puck through the five-hole of Söderberg and out past the far post. Frustrating.