From a narrative standpoint, you couldn't ask for a better opener for Canada than against the U.S. on Saturday.
Unfortunately, though, the Canadians wanted a better result. Instead, despite a strong game even-strength, they never recovered from allowing three power play goals in the first period, losing to Team USA 4-2.
Brianne Jenner and Jennifer Wakefield scored goals in the first and third periods for Canada, while Genevieve Lacasse made 26 saves. Four different Americans -- Jocelyne Lamoureux, Kacey Bellamy, Kendall Coyne and Hilary Knight -- scored, and Jessie Vetter only had to make nine saves to preserve the win, thanks to strong defensive play and sustained pressure in the offensive zone from the skaters in front of her.
Canada made up for the opening loss with a sound 4-0 win over Russia Sunday, handing Ann-Renee Desbiens a shutout in her Worlds debut. Russia was outshot 42-19 overall, but had an especially rough first period, where it allowed three of the Canadians' goals. Caroline Ouellette, Laura Fortino, Courtney Birchard and Marie-Philip Poulin all scored, and the Inferno's own Rebecca Johnston tallied a pair of assists. With this win, Canada maintains its hold on second place (behind the Americans, who also won their game against Finland). They close out the round-robin Tuesday against the Finns.
United States 4, Finland 1: Hilary Knight and Brianna Decker predictably ran the show, scoring three points apiece as the U.S. allowed the first goal, but recovered, outshooting the Finns 52-12 and finishing plenty of chances. Hannah Brandt and Kendall Coyne added onto Knight's two goals, with Brandt's goal coming shorthanded. Alex Rigsby was near-perfect in net in her own Worlds debut.
- Japan is shockingly on top of Group B with two wins, Saturday's over Sweden 4-3 in the shootout and then a 2-0 shutout win over Germany Sunday. Sunday's win is their first-ever over Germany and could mark a turning point in the Japanese program. If they can get at least one point over Switzerland in their final round-robin game Tuesday, they will make it to the quarterfinals. Germany, meanwhile, faces the relegation round with its two losses.
- Meanwhile, Sweden redeemed itself Sunday with a convincing win over Switzerland, 3-2. Sara Grahn had a strong game in net, coming up big especially late in the game as the Swiss scored two late ones and attempted to complete the comeback. The Swedes find themselves in second place in Group B, with one point over the Olympic bronze-medal winning Swiss.