By Andrew Stuetz and Rob Del Mundo (edited by Kristen Lipscombe)
BRAMPTON, Ont. – Marie-Philip Poulin made history scoring career goals 100 and 101 as Canada beat Czechia 5-1 on Friday night. Canada’s Captain Clutch scored twice on Good Friday evening as Team Canada improved to a perfect 2-0 record before 4,036 fans at CAA Centre.
The Canadian captain put away a beautiful backhand move at 8:03 of Period One for her first of two goals on the night. Poulin joins Hayley Wickenheiser, Jayna Hefford and Danielle Goyette as the only four women to hit the century mark in their career.
I’m running out of adjectives,” said coach Troy Ryan after the game when asked to describe his captain. “She’s such a special human, a special player, she just has an ability to change the game at any time. When we talk about the identity we want as a team, she can beat you with physicality, the defence or with offense. So we’re glad she’s Canadian!”
Blayre Turnbull impressed with a three-assist night, while forwards Jocelyne Larocque and Brianne Jenner had two-point nights to complete the strong offensive performance for Team Canada.
Goalie Ann-Renée Desbiens moved to 2-0 in two games with a strong performance between the posts, stopping 14 of 15 shots.
Natalie Mlynkova scored Czechia’s only goal late in the first period for her first goal of the tournament.
Goaltender Blanka Skodova showed promise, making 36 saves in the game.
Both teams were eager to get things going early in the game with the physicality starting immediately after puck drop.
Canada had an early chance to score when 22-year-old Sarah Fillier took a pass from Claire Thompson on defence for a shot on the Czechia net with just over one minute into the first period.
Both teams traded puck battles, with Canada’s Kristin O’Neill showing her strength despite her five-foot-four stature and Czechia’s Dominika Laskova throwing her body around and making things difficult for Canada.
Czechia had its first chance on net when defender Klara Jandusikova forced Desbiens to flash the leather at 5:22 of the opening period.
History was made at 8:03 of period one when Poulin scored her 100th goal for Team Canada on a beautiful backhand move. The goal gave Canada a 1-0 lead and was assisted by Turnbull and Jenner.
Check out the TSN highlight here: https://twitter.com/TSN_Sports/status/1644480608171638784?s=20
Canada continued to apply pressure on Team Czechia, forcing a scramble in front of the net with four minutes left in the period before forcing Skodova to make a big pad save with 3:30 left to play.
Czechia tied the game 1-1 at 18:27 when Mlynkova scored an unassisted goal on Desbiens.
It would be a short-lived celebration for Team Czechia with Canada scoring just 25 seconds later on a goal from defender Renata Fast. Turnbull put up her second assist of the game with Larocque adding an assist as well.
The period ended 2-1 in Canada’s favour with the team leading 14-7 in shots on net. Both teams killed off body-checking penalties in the period. Watch more from TSN here: https://twitter.com/TSN_Sports/status/1644488742764257282?s=20
After an early scoring chance for Canada to open the second period, Czechia would go back to the penalty kill after Noemi Neubaerova went off for holding at 2:11. Canada successfully killed off the Neubaerova penalty before controlling most of the play throughout the second period.
Czechia’s Laskova went off for tripping at 12:15 and Adela Sapovalivova for high-sticking at 15:15 but Canada was unable to convert on either power-play opportunity. The team was 0-6 on power plays overall.
Larocque scored a seeing-eye point shot late in the period to extend Canada’s lead to 3-1 despite the inability to convert on the player-advantage throughout the game to this point. See more from TSN here: https://twitter.com/TSN_Sports/status/1644498802663907330?s=20.
Shortly thereafter, forward Danielle Serdachny took a body-checking penalty at 19:37 to give the Czechs a late power-play advantage that they’d take into the third period.
Canada outshot Czechia 14-4 to end the second period.
Thompson managed an early scoring opportunity for Canada early in the period, applying pressure to the Czechs at the start of the third.
Canada’s captain wasn’t finished after scoring her 100th career goal, with Poulin ripping home a wrister just 2:16 into the third period to give Canada a 4-1 lead. The goal was assisted by Jenner for her second assist of the game.
Team Czechia found themselves on a brief two-player advantage after a tripping penalty from Thompson and holding call against O’Neill saw Canada on an extended penalty kill, but the Czechs were unable to convert on the opportunity.
Immediately after Thompson came out the box, it was 28-year-old Laura Stacey who was whistled for delay of game, giving Czechia another five-on-three opportunity, but Canada's opponents were once again unable to score. More from TSN here: https://twitter.com/TSN_Sports/status/1644504599653384195?s=20
Canada’s power play would go back to work after forward Alena Mills was forced to sit for only two minutes for a check to the head of Stacey – a conversation that went on for a few moments between both captains and the officials.
After three successful kills in the opening nine minutes of the period, it was Canada’s turn to apply the pressure with their power-play opportunity but the red and white were unable to find the back of the net.
After an extended period in Czechia’s defensive zone, Stacey found herself on the scoresheet with her point shot at 14:40 of the third frame. The goal was assisted by defender Ella Shelton and Turnbull, for her third point.
Canada earned another power play, for the sixth time on the night, after forward Tereza Vanisova was called for boarding but unfortunately the home team was unable to score yet again. The team would continue to keep the puck in Czechias end for the remainder of the game, finishing with 42 shots on goal. Czechia finished with 15 shots.
This was the first time the two teams have faced each other.
Unsurprisingly, Poulin was named the player of the game for Canada. Skodova earned the honour for the Czechs in a 37-save performance.
“It’s an honour for me,” said Poulin of her achievement. “But at the end of the day it’s about the team. Obviously, very happy to do it.”
Team Canada is back in action on Saturday against Japan, while Czechia faces Team USA on Sunday.