Hockey

Switzerland, Czech Republic win openers at women's hockey worlds

Switzerland and the Czech Republic made winning starts at the women's world ice hockey championship against opponents backing up on Friday. The Swiss beat Japan 3-1 in Herning and the Czechs routed Hungary 7-1 in Frederikshavn.

Canada faces Switzerland on Saturday

Swiss players celebrate during the team's 3-1 win over Japan on Friday at the women's world ice hockey championship in Herning, Denmark. (@IIHFHockey/Twitter)

Switzerland and the Czech Republic made winning starts at the women's world ice hockey championship against opponents backing up on Friday.

The Swiss beat Japan 3-1 in Herning and the Czechs routed Hungary 7-1 in Frederikshavn.

Japan was flogged by the United States 10-0 on Thursday, the championship's opening day, when Hungary came from behind to beat Germany.

The Swiss and Czechs will realize the feeling of playing back-to-back on Saturday. The Swiss face title favourite Canada, and the Czechs meet host Denmark.

Japan was more focused on Friday but Switzerland always looked closer to clicking through a scoreless first period.

Linemates Lara Stalder and Alina Muller scored and set up each other's goals in the second to assert Switzerland command, and Lena Marie Lutz added an empty-netter with 2:05 remaining in a third in which Japan was the better team.

Goalkeeper Miyuu Masuhara was excellent in stopping 17 of 20 shots but was pulled again at 3-0 down and Akane Shiga scored after missing a point-blank chance in the first.

The Czech Republic's first worlds match under new coach Carla MacLeod, a two-time Olympic gold medalist player for Canada, was one-sided, played almost entirely at Hungary's end.

Klara Hymlarova posted the first goal after 62 seconds, followed by defender Daniela Pesjova just over a minute later.

Defender Tereza Radova and 16-year-old forward Adela Sapovalivova made it 4-0 before Hungary scored just before the end of the second period through Alexandra Huszak. Hungary was kept to seven shots.

The third period featured scores by Natalie Mlynkova, Sapovalivova's second, and Agata Sarnovska.

Hungary goalie Aniko Nemeth did well in facing 45 shots to make 38 saves.

Also on Saturday, the U.S. meets Finland, which will be without the suspended Petra Nieminen, and Sweden plays Germany.

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