Ice Hockey - Canadian women pepper Swiss in Sochi opener

Canada opened their bid for a fourth consecutive women's Olympic ice hockey gold medal with a 5-0 victory over an outclassed Switzerland at the Sochi Games on Saturday.

Reuters
Ice Hockey - Canadian women pepper Swiss in Sochi opener
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Switzerland's goalie Florence Schelling lets in a goal by Canada's Hayley Wickenheiser (Reuters)

The Canadians jumped all over the Swiss from the opening faceoff, their fast-paced offense and slick passing proving too much for their opponents to handle.

Swiss goalie Florence Schelling was peppered with shots for the duration of a one-sided game in which Canada outshot their opponents 69-14 at a packed Shayba Arena.

"We faced a great goalie and would've liked to maybe put a few more past her but she played really good tonight and kept them in the game," Hayley Wickenheiser, whose breakaway goal early in the second period put Canada ahead 3-0, told reporters.

"It's hard to play and do all the right little things when you can cheat a little bit all over the ice, but we did a good job of keeping each other in check and we'll have to be better on our habits as we move forward."

Canada defenseman Jocelyne Larocque, cut from the team in the run-up to the 2010 Vancouver Games, got her Olympic debut off to a dream start as her shot from the point found the back of the Swiss net 85 seconds into the game.

From there, Canada continued to pour it on with a slew of odd-man rushes and an impenetrable defense that kept the Swiss from mounting any sort of attack. Rebecca Johnston led the way for Canada with a goal and two assists.

For Canada, the win extended an impressive streak of never losing a major ice hockey competition match to any other nation other than the United States.

Despite the result, Switzerland were viewing the game as a victory of sorts considering they suffered a 13-0 blowout at the hands of Canada when the teams met at the 2013 world championship.

"It's the best result we've ever had playing against Canada so we can be very content with that. It shows us that we have improved over the past couple years," Schelling said.

"But I was expecting (a lot of shots), it's always been like that when we play against Canada so I prepared for it just like any other game but knowing in my head that I will be busy for the busy for the whole 60 minutes."

The teams resume Group A preliminary-round action on Monday with Canada facing Finland and Switzerland v the U.S.

Several Canadian players admitted they squandered too many chances, something they cannot afford to do against the United States next week.

"We did a lot of great things but I think we need to finish a bit more of our chances and at times we have to play better defensive hockey on the transition," Canadian captain Caroline Ouellette said.

"I think we know that but sometimes it's easy to cheat when you are leading by a few goals."

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