U.S. Beats China 12-1 in Hockey
The United States opened its preliminary round of the women’s hockey tournament Sunday with a 12-1 victory over China, the second overwhelming rout in two days at the Canada Hockey Place.
In front of a crowd that included U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Jenny Potter got three goals in the first 22 minutes to become the leading scorer in U.S. Olympic history. Meghan Duggan netted twice for the Americans, who got the expected result when a seasoned power takes on a developing team.
Still, the Americans didn’t quite match Canada’s 18-0 victory over Slovakia on Saturday, in part because they occasionally cycled the puck down low, remaining patient for scoring chances.
“I think we did a good job playing our game, but at the same time keeping sportsmanship in mind,” U.S. captain Natalie Darwitz said.
China allowed the game’s first 11 goals before Jin Fengling scored on a power play with 2:21 left.
Potter finished with five points while notching her first Olympic hat trick.
In addition to Biden, Salt Lake Games executive Mitt Romney and former U.S. hockey captain Mike Eruzione were among the spectators. Eruzione led the Americans’ stunning upset of the Soviet Union at the 1980 Lake Placid Games.
Another Miracle on Ice hero had a better seat: Mark Johnson, who scored two goals in the victory over the Soviets, returned to the Olympics three decades later as the U.S. women’s coach.
Late in a thoroughly one-sided game, China got a minor miracle of its own. The North American crowd roared when Jin threaded a backhand through traffic past Brianne McLaughlin, triumphantly slapping her stick on the ice.
Although the Chinese team skates better than the Slovaks and is much improved from Turin after four more years of international competition, the Americans still were far too much for the club led by Finnish coach Hannu Saintula. China has lost all 20 of its games against the Americans.
The Americans outshot China 61-7, scoring five goals in the first period and rarely allowing even a potential scoring rush by the Chinese, who got 49 saves from goalie Shi Yao.
Molly Schaus played the first 52 minutes in goal before McLaughlin came on in relief. Jessie Vetter is expected to be the U.S. goalie in the team’s biggest games.
With a power play goal early in the second period, Potter passed Katie King for the overall U.S. lead in Olympic scoring. The mother of two from Minnesota has eight goals and 17 assists in Olympic play.
The Americans scored less than three minutes into the game on a spectacular individual play by four-time Olympian Angela Ruggiero, who rushed into the play at mid-ice to scoop up a loose puck, outskated two defenders and fired a low shot underneath Shi. Ruggiero has altered her game in recent years, choosing to join the offensive rush less frequently, but she still skates better than all but a handful of women’s players.
Forward Erika Lawler was shaken up by a spill into the boards midway through the second period, but she stayed on the bench for the third to root on her teammates.