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Olympics-Ice hockey-Fillier sparks Canada to a Finland rout

Randy Mancini 23 Feb 5
Ice Hockey - Women's Prelim. Round - Group A - Canada v Finland
2022 Beijing Olympics - Ice Hockey - Women's Prelim. Round - Group A - Canada v Finland - Wukesong Sports Centre, Beijing, China - February 5, 2022. Sarah Fillier of Canada in action with Viivi Vainikka of Finland and Nelli Laitinen of Finland. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

February 5, 2022

By Steve Keating

BEIJING (Reuters) – Young gun Sarah Fillier fired a pair of goals as Canada romped to an 11-1 rout of Finland in women’s ice hockey at the Beijing Olympics on Saturday, to remain on a gold medal collision course with United States.

Canada opened their Olympic account on Thursday with an equally ruthless 12-1 thrashing of Switzerland and again showed no mercy to the third-ranked Finns as they stormed to the top of the Group A standings outscoring their opponents 23-to-2.

The Finns, bronze medallists at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, have had a rough start in Beijing, dropping their opening two contests.

Canada and the United States, who between them have won every gold medal since women’s hockey became part of the Olympic programme in 1998, again look a class apart.

After losing the gold to the Americans at Pyeongchang, Canada has focused on reclaiming it and newcomer Fillier has been leading the charge with four goals in two games.

The youngest player on the Canadian team, Fillier made a spectacular Olympic debut collecting two goals and an assist in the Swiss demolition.

The 21-year-old scored the opener against Switzerland and had Canada on the scoreboard first again on Saturday, needing just 61 seconds to find the back of the net followed by another from Sarah Nurse.

“With every game we play, no matter who we’re playing, we want to get up early and put a team on their heels,” said Fillier. “All our lines gel really great and we have so much depth and skill and can get anyone to contribute from anywhere in the lineup.”

Despite being outshot 17-8, Finland entered the intermission trailing just 2-1 on late goal from Minnamari Tuominen.

But that would be as close as Finland would get, with Fillier restoring the two goal advantage early in the second half as Canada shifted into another gear.

“She (Fillier) has got such an amazing shot and just a great player that I know if I can find her in those key scoring areas, she’s going to bury it,” said team mate Natalie Spooner, who had four assists in the win.

Nurse added two more to complete her hat-trick while Brianne Jenner also pumped in three, Laura Stacey a pair and Jamie Lee Rattray a single.

Up next for Canada is a meeting with the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) on Monday before a Group game showdown on Tuesday against the United States.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Beijing, additional reporting Amy Tennery; Editing by Himani Sarkar)