BRAMPTON, Ont. -- Despite Japan’s best efforts, it was no match for powerhouse Canada at the CAA Centre on Saturday night.
Fuelled by a supportive home crowd, the Canadian women cruised to a 5-0 shutout for its third straight win in preliminary round action, outshooting their opponents 60-11.
The dominance of head coach Troy Ryan’s roster was evident from the opening face off. Blayre Turnbull of Stellarton, N.S., had a goal disallowed due to an attacker in the crease around Japanese goaltender Miyuu Masuhara, but the momentum stall was short-lived.
After generating the first six shots of the game, Canada opened the scoring at 3:56 of the first period. Captain Marie-Philip Poulin, fresh off her two-goal performance versus Czechia, stickhandled her way around the Japan defence before feeding forward Brianne Jenner for the one-timer over the goal line.
Just over four minutes later, young phenom Sarah Fillier dropped to her knees and pounced on a rebound off Renata Fast’s shot for her second goal of the tournament. Canada took a two-goal lead into the first intermission.
Veteran forward Sarah Nurse extended Canada’s lead to 3-0 with a power-play goal at 3:34 of the second stanza, deflecting a shot from defender Erin Ambrose.
"We'd been talking about a double screen at the net,” Nurse told The Sports Network (TSN) during intermission. “She made a great shot and I was able to get my stick on it. It's all about capitalizing on those special opportunities.”
Just before the midway mark of regulation, Masuhara was replaced in Japan’s net by Riko Kawaguchi. Before the second period ended, veteran Canadian forward Natalie Spooner buried a rink-wide pass from Jamie Lee Rattray for her team’s fourth goal.
It was Spooner’s second goal of the tournament, further proving that the road to new motherhood has not been a barrier to her scoring output.
Fillier rounded out the scoring with her second tally of the game after accepting a pass from Danielle Serdachny who had confidently skated behind the net with the puck before finding her open teammate at the side of the goal.
Canadian goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer had a relatively quiet night between the pipes, having to make only 11 saves to earn the shutout. She saved her best save for the last, stopping Makoto Ito from point-blank range with under 10 seconds left in the game.
Four Canadians had multi-point nights; Poulin and Ambrose each collected two assists, while Nurse registered a goal and an assist. Fillier’s two goals and a helper to boot earned Canada’s player of the game honours for the native of Georgetown, Ont., a small town just 20 kilometres west of host city Brampton.
On Japan’s side, defender Akaya Hitosato claimed the recognition for her team.
The much-anticipated matchup between Canada and the United States takes place on Easter Monday to conclude the preliminary round for both North American teams.