Marie-Philip Poulin paces Canada over Finland in women’s hockey worlds opener


Marie-Philip Poulin and Sarah Nurse each had goal and an assist for Canada in a 4-1 win over Finland to open the women’s world hockey championship Thursday.

Meaghan Mikkelson also scored and Blayre Turnbull added an empty-net goal for the defending champions at Kvik Hockey Arena in Herning, Denmark. Ann-Renee Desbiens stopped 16 shots, including a first-period penalty shot, for the win.

Julia Likala countered for the Finns, who were bronze medallists in February’s Olympic Games and in last year’s world championship in Calgary.

Finnish goaltender Anni Keisala, who was named the tournament’s top goalie in 2021, made 39 saves in the loss.

Canada faces Switzerland on Saturday and Japan on Sunday in Pool A games. Japan fell 10-0 to the United States on Thursday.

The Finns went 1-for-5 on the power play and couldn’t convert almost four straight minutes with an extra player — including a dozen seconds of five-on-three — into a goal at the end of the second period and the start of the third.

Mikkelson chipped in a rebound from an Ella Shelton shot for a 3-1 Canada lead at 13:01 of the second period.

The 37-year-old defender has returned to the national team after surgery and rehabilitation of a knee injury kept her out of February’s Winter Olympics.

Poulin skated the puck in from the neutral zone and let loose a wrist shot that beat Keisala far side at 15:51 for a 2-1 Canada lead.

The Finns were awarded a penalty shot late in the opening period when Elisa Holopainen was hacked on a breakaway. With her right pad, Desbiens repelled Kira Yrjanen backing into the Canadian goaltender and then going to her forehand.

Likala pulled the Finns even in the final seconds of a Canadian penalty at 12:07 of the first period when she poked in a rebound during a goalmouth scramble.

Five minutes after the opening puck drop, Finnish forward Petra Nieminen was slapped with a five-minute major and game misconduct for checking Canada’s Kristin O’Neill from behind.

Nurse scored a power-play goal 7:38 from the slot where she redirected a Poulin pass over Keisala’s glove.

The host Finns upset Canada 4-2 in the 2019 world championship semifinals in Espoo and went on to lose the final to the U.S. in a shootout. Canada has gone 5-0 against them since then.





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