Canada to face U.S. for gold
Dominant 4-0 win sets up dream final
The Russians will face Sweden for the bronze medal.
Emma Maltais had two hard-earned assists for the victors while goaltender Edith D'Astous Moreau stopped 12 shots for the shutout. The game was played before 2,819 boisterous spectators.
Canada beat Russia, 5-2, earlier in the tournament, but tonight's performance was even more dominating.
"We started the game really well and kept going," Maltais said. "Now we're in the game we want to be in, and we're looking forward to a better start against the U.S. than the last time."
"We didn't expect Canada to start as strong as they were," admitted captain Fanuza Kadirova, the team's top scorer. "They moved better than the first game. They were flying."
The first period was a bruising affair complete with physical play and hard contact on puck pursuit. Maltais drew a kneeing penalty early in the game after a tough collision with Kadirova. Kadirova was down for a while and missed a few shifts but returned later in the period looking strong. Still, she was ineffective all game.
"I didn't expect them to give me so little room," she admitted. "It was very difficult because they played with such intensity."
Soon after this hit, Canada’s Celine Frappier was hurt in a collision, but she, too, managed to return.
Canada dominated play, outshooting the Russians 12-1 in the opening period and cashing in with the only goal. Ashton Bell’s shot from the top of the circle found its way through traffic and in.
The second period was equally one-sided. Russia managed three shots on goal, but each was weak. Canada, meanwhile, peppered Tarakanova with 17, many from close range. Maltais took a shot early on a power play, and although Tarakanova made the save, Ryleigh Houston whipped in the rebound at 1:46 to make it 2-0.
Despite Canada's dominance with the puck, the score was still within reach of Russia, but the hosts dispelled any notion of a comeback with two early and quick goals in the third. The first came from Bell at 2:31. She walked our from behind the net and fired a low shot to the stick side of Valeria Merkusheva, who took over for the beleaguered Tarakanova to start the period.
Just 25 seconds later, Kayla Friesen fired a shot to the far side to make it 4-0. And now, the North Americans prepare to face each other for the ninth straight time at the WW18 finals. It promises to be another classic.