BEIJING – Blayre Turnbull scored a hat trick and had two assists to pace Canada to an 11-1 win over Switzerland to open the Olympic women’s hockey tournament Thursday in Beijing.
Natalie Spooner had two goals and three assists with Laura Stacey scoring twice for Canada.
Sarah Fillier, the youngest player on the Canadian team at 21, scored twice and assisted on another goal in the first period of her Olympic debut.
Rebecca Johnston, Ashton Bell and Erin Ambrose also scored. Goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens made 14 saves in the victory.
Swiss captain Lara Stalder scored a power-play goal in the third period after Canada’s nine unanswered goals. Goaltender Andrea Braendli stopped 58 shots in the loss.
Canada’s Pool A in Beijing includes defending champion United States, Finland, Russia and the Swiss.
Japan, Czech Republic, Sweden, Denmark and host China comprise Pool B.
The quarterfinal matchups Feb. 11-12 will be: A1-B3, A2-B2, A3-B1, A4-A5. The semifinals are Feb. 14 followed by the bronze-medal game Feb. 16 and the final Feb. 17.
Canada faces the Finns on Saturday, the Russians on Tuesday and the Americans on Feb. 8.
The Canadians hemmed the Swiss in their own end for much of Thursday’s game. The latter’s first shot on net came during a power play five and a half minutes into the opening period.
Canada led 3-0 and 8-0 at period breaks.
Spooner’s tenacious net-front presence produced a pair of backhand goals with Fillier assisting on the first. Stacey scored the first of her two in the second period putting the puck off the inside of Braendli’s skate from behind the goal line.
Fillier was a continuous scoring threat with her speed and gifted hands. She wheeled through the offensive zone and whipped a wrist shot just inside Braendli’s right post at 7:55 of the opening period.
Just 64 seconds after the opening faceoff, the forward batted a puck out of the air between the Swiss goalie’s pads.
The rookie waited almost five minutes for the goal to be validated, however. Officials took their time reviewing it when the Swiss coach issued a high-stick challenge.
Canadian forward Melodie Daoust left the ice in pain in the second period when she was checked hard into the boards by defender Sarah Forster.
Canada’s Emily Clark lost an edge and crashed into Braendli midway through the first period. The Swiss goalie was slow to get up.
No penalty was called, and the Swiss made their displeasure known on the subsequent faceoff with some pushing and shoving.
Canada is the reigning world champion having beaten the U.S. in overtime for the title in August in Calgary. The Swiss, whose best Olympic result was bronze in 2014, lost in the bronze-medal game to the Finns there.
Canadian women won four straight Olympic hockey gold before the Americans edged them 3-2 in a shootout in 2018 final in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Women’s hockey made its Olympic debut in 1998 with a six-team tournament. The field increased to eight countries four years later in Salt Lake City and has expanded to 10 teams for the first time in Beijing in 2022.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 3, 2022.