Sauce Us a Follow

Kristen O’Neil scores two, Canada dominates Czechia


Canada improved to 3-0 in the group stage after dominating their Czech opponents on Sunday afternoon in Utica, New York.

Monday night’s game against the USA will officially decide who wins Group A after Canada secured their second straight shutout win beating Czechia 5-0.

” I thought it was our best performance so far at worlds”, Canada head coach Troy Ryan said after the game. ”  I liked that all our offense came from being really smart defensively. We didn’t give them a lot of room to get their offense going. The tracking back hard, lifting sticks, and transitioning quickly, I thought we looked pretty dangerous.”

Kristen O’Neil scored two goals while Canada also got goals from Danielle Serdachny, Natalie Spooner, and Laura Stacey while Anne Renee Desbiens made 13 saves in the win albeit a not-so-busy afternoon for her.

” My role has kinda evolved in the Hockey Canada program”, O’Neil said post-game after being selected as the player of the game for her three-point performance. ” I feel I’ve been a more defensive centreman in the past, but just finding different ways to contribute has been a focus of mine and even a focus of our line (with Serdachny and Julia Gosling) so it’s nice to be rewarded and it helps our team. The more we can be offensive and have confidence with that, I think the better our team is.”.

It didn’t take long for Canada to open the scoring as 2:07 in the game O’Neil won a faceoff in the offensive zone and immediately gave the puck to Serdachny who fired a quick shot and was able to beat the Czech netminder Klara Peslarova.

” It’s so different than last year”, O’Neil added. ” I think we had only played four or five games coming into worlds and it’s a drastic difference being in season [playing in the PWHL]. We’re in peak shape so coming into worlds, we don’t have as much catch-up to do and it shows in these fast-paced games. Personally, I’m playing some of the best players in the world; I’m the centreman behind Poulin, so getting to learn from her every day I’ve seen it in my game, the physicality, I’ve made some steps forward in that.”

Seven minutes later O’Neil doubled Canada’s lead on a delayed penalty call as she was able to shoot the puck from the point with enough speed that it fooled Peslarova. With 2:30 left in the first period O’Neil scored her second of the contest when she managed to get a shot on goal and grabbed her own rebound and scored.

Five minutes into the second period Canada made it 4-0 this time when Renata Fast from the blue line blasted the puck into the back of the net with a shot that looked like Peslarova never saw it. At this point of the game, the Czechs looked out of sorts taking back-to-back penalties and only having five shots on net to this point.

Six minutes into the final frame Laura Stacey made it 5-0 as she drove to the net and pulled a sublime toe drag and was able to slip the puck into the back of the net.

Canada once again finds itself in a back-to-back situation having to play the Americans on Monday night in the most important game of the group stage to decide who wins the group and to determine the road to the gold medal game.

” Tomorrow’s game against the US is a big game for us”, Jamie-Lee Rattray said after the game. ” I think our goal is here [the Women’s World Championship], but the Rivalry Series are also big games through the year for us. We’re going to use the momentum of coming back and winning the last four games to clinch the series as preparation and we’ll hopefully build on that.”

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