The 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang didn't end the way Canada's women's hockey team had hoped. Eyeing their fifth-straight gold medal at the Games, the Canadians were taken down in heartbreaking fashion by the United States in the shootout of the final.
This year's Canadian team is hungry for redemption, and after their first contest of the 2022 Winter Olympics, they look every bit as dangerous as many expected they would look. Canada took down Switzerland by a score of 12-1 early Thursday morning and they made it look effortless.
Marie-Philip Poulin, Natalie Spooner and company each played up to their typical standard, but it was a newcomer — first-time Olympian Sarah Fillier — who stole the show early on against the Swiss. Fillier, just 21, finished the night with a pair of goals and an assist in her first-ever game at the Olympics, and it's safe to say those are the first of many points to come in her Olympic career.
Fillier opened the scoring early in the first period after batting an errant puck past Swiss goaltender Andrea Braendli. The goal was reviewed at length after it appeared Fillier's stick may have been above the crossbar, but the tally wound up counting in the end.
Not long after breaking the ice, Fillier scored again with a laser from the high slot, giving Canada a 2-0 advantage. Two goals in her first 7:55 of Olympic competition? Pretty good!
That wasn't it for Fillier, though. She also picked up an assist on Spooner's goal at the 11:20 mark of the opening stanza, giving her three points not even a full period into her first game as an Olympian.
The Canadians didn't let up after their dominant first period. In fact, they picked up the pace in the second. Rebecca Johnston added to the Canada lead at the 8:06 mark of the period, then Laura Stacey scored from a wild angle just 15 seconds later to make it 5-0. By the end of the period, Canada was sitting pretty with a casual 8-0 lead after Spooner and Stacey both added to their goal total. Blayre Turnbull also found the back of the net, giving her the first goal of her Olympic career despite playing in five games and logging three assists in PyeongChang.
The scoring parade continued in the third period, but perhaps the most notable goal from the final frame was the tally scored by the Swiss. They avoided the shutout with a goal from Lara Stalder, but the Canadians continued to impose their will for the majority of the period.
When it was all said and done, the Canadians scored a dozen goals and logged an absolutely baffling 70 (!) shots on goal while allowing just 15. Fillier, Spooner, Stacey and Turnbull all finished with a pair of goals while Johnston, Claire Thompson, Ashton Bell and Erin Ambrose also joined the goal parade.
Canada was expected to be a strong team once again going into the start of these Olympics, but after their first game of the competition, they may already be the favorites to win gold.
Still, it wasn't completely sunshine and rainbows for Canada Thursday morning. Forward Melodie Daoust left the contest favoring her arm in the second period after colliding hard with Swiss defender Sarah Forster. She did not return. This is Daoust's third appearance at the Olympics, and she played a key role for the Canadians in PyeongChang, logging three goals and four assists in five games.
Canada's next game comes late Friday night at 11:50 p.m. ET against Finland, which is expected to be a much more competitive tilt that what was exhibited against Switzerland. It's unclear if Daoust will be able to suit up for Friday night's tilt.