Agosta-Daoust-Poulin line leads Canada in win over Finland
Jillian Saulnier makes history as first Nova Scotian woman to score in the Olympics
By Nick Murray, CBC Sports
Meghan Agosta and Mélodie Daoust each netted a goal and an assist, Shannon Szabados stopped 22 shots and Jillian Saulnier made history as Canada's women's hockey team cruised to a 4-1 victory over Finland Tuesday in Pyeongchang.
Canada improved to 2-0-0, thanks to solid play early on from the line of Agosta, Daoust and Marie-Philip Poulin, as Finland left goaltender Noora Raty high and dry, who herself stopped 31 shots in a solid performance.
Agosta opened the scoring just 35 seconds into the game, as Daoust intercepted a pass in the neutral zone, outwaited sprawling Finish defender Jenni Hiirikoski, and fed a perfect saucer pass over to an open Agosta for her first of the tournament.
Midway through the period the turnover bug again hit Finland, as the puck skipped on Hiirikoski, and right onto Poulin's stick. The two-time Olympic hero put her backhand shot right under the bar to make it 2-0. The goal was initially waved off, but was reviewed and overturned after play stopped.
VIDEO | Marie-Philip Poulin's goal waved off, then overturned
Canada thought it had another with seconds left in the period, as it appeared Natalie Spooner jammed the puck past the goal line between the post and Raty's pad. But officials upheld the no-goal call after review, without explanation.
Midway through the second, Daoust scored her third of the tournament, wiring a wrist shot far side on Raty to make it 3-0.
With less than two minutes left Saulnier made history, catching the Finns on a bad line change and firing a wrister on a breakaway, becoming the first Nova Scotian woman to score in the Olympics.
Meaghan Mikkelson, a 33-year-old defenceman and three-time Olympian from St. Albert, Alta., marked her 100th international appearance for Canada.
VIDEO | Saulnier makes history in 4-0 win over Finland
Finland broke Szabados' bid for a second straight Canadian shutout midway through the third, as Riikka Valila scored on a third effort in the slot for her first of the tournament.
"I do like where our team's at," said Canada coach Laura Schuler.
"I thought tonight we had a real strong first and second period. Finland obviously played us really hard in the third period. I think we might have got ahead of ourselves a little bit, maybe thinking too much offensively instead of playing a sound defensive game.
"Because Finland's a great team and they can generate a lot of offence too. So the importance of us making sure that we're staying connected and playing defensive hockey first before heading down the other end."
Finland coach Pasi Mustonen said his team is on a journey trying to reach the decisive game that could let the Finns play for more than just a bronze medal.
"That's the game we want to win," Mustonen said.
With the loss, the Finns fell to 0-2-0 on the tournament. They had upset Canada at the 2017 world championships, before Canada shut them out in the semifinals. The closest Finland had come previously to beating the Canadians was a 6-6 exhibition tie in 1999.
Canada will face the United States Thursday, in a rematch of the world 2017 championship gold-medal game, which the U.S. won in overtime.
With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press