Victoria Bach had two goals and an assist as Canada defeated Japan 7-1 in preliminary round play at the under-18 women's world hockey championship on Sunday.

Bach opened the scoring at 8:09 of the first period and Japan's Suzuka Taka equalized just 33 seconds later.

Eve-Audrey Picard put Canada in front a few minutes later and Sarah Potomak added a power-play goal to give Canada a 3-1 lead after the first period.

Bach set up Samantha Corgan early in the second period before scoring her second goal of the game later in the frame. Rebecca Leslie and Hannah Miller added power-play insurance goals in the third.

Head coach Laura Schuler said her players turned in a strong effort at both ends of the ice and is confident they will build on this victory.

"I strongly believe that we have the players, the personnel and a great staff to go all the way with this team," she said. "There is no doubt — our goal is to win gold."

Canadian goalie Kassidy Sauve made 21 saves. Canada outshot Japan 65-22.

The two-time defending champion Canadians will play Finland on Monday.

In other games Sunday, the Czech Republic edged Finland 4-3 in a shootout and Sweden topped Hungary 5-1.

The medal games are scheduled for March 30.