Canada's women's hockey team has been nothing short of sensational to start the 2022 Winter Olympics. They blew out Switzerland 12-1 in their tournament opener, followed it up with an 11-1 drubbing of Finland and early Monday morning (after a lengthy delay caused by COVID-19 concerns) improved to 3-0 at the Olympics with a 6-1 rout of the ROC.
Sarah Nurse, who against Finland became the first Canadian woman to net an Olympic hat trick since 2010, opened the scoring just two minutes into the contest after intercepting an ill-advised pass through the center of the ROC zone. Sarah Fillier then scored a goal of her own just 20 seconds later, giving her a whopping five markers in her first three games as an Olympian.
While Canada clearly controlled play for much of the opening stanza, the ROC hung around more than any of the Canadians' previous opponents. The Russian athletes generated several quality scoring chances in the first period, but Canada goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer managed to stop each of them.
The ROC opted to make a goaltending change after Canada netted two more goals in the middle third, swapping Daria Gredzen for Maria Sorokina. And for a moment, the change seemed to make a slight positive impact. ROC forward Anna Shokhina scored her first goal of the tournament to cut the Canada lead to three goals, giving the Russian athletes a brief shot of adrenaline. However, the ensuing surge of energy was unsustainable against the stingy Canadian squad.
It only took the Canadians 39 seconds to reclaim the four-goal lead in the third period. Rebecca Johnston netted her second goal of the Olympics on the power play, and minutes later captain Marie-Philip Poulin, who somehow hadn't scored in either of Canada's first two games, potted her first of the tournament to make it 6-1. It was all smooth sailing from there as the Canadians cruised their way to another impressive victory.
At this point it's undeniable — the Canadians are playing at a level completely unmatched by any other team at the Olympics. And barring a collapse of epic proportions, it's a near certainty that they'll be making their seventh-straight appearance in the gold medal final.
Canada's next game is a big one, though. They take on the United States in what is undoubtedly the most anticipated game of the preliminary stage Monday night at 11:10 p.m. ET. There's a lot of bad blood between the U.S. and Canada, and it'll all be on display as both teams look to remain undefeated in the tournament.