Canada heading to women’s world hockey semifinal after 3-0 win over Sweden

Canada players celebrate Sarah Potomak's goal during the IIHF World Championship Woman's ice holckey match between Canada and Sweden in Herning, Denmark, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022. (Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix via AP)

Sarah Potomak had a goal and an assist to lead Canada to a 3-0 win over Sweden in a women’s world hockey championship quarterfinal Thursday.

Jocelyne Larocque and Erin Ambrose also scored for the defending champions, who face Switzerland in Saturday’s semifinals.

The medal games are Sunday.

READ MORE: Canada back on top of women’s hockey world, but work continues to stay there

Canadian starter Ann-Renee Desbiens posted a nine-save shutout Thursday.

Emma Soderberg, who tends the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs’ net, was a workhorse with 54 saves for Sweden.

Minus captain Lara Stalder and their top scorer Alina Mueller because of COVID-19, the Swiss edged Japan 2-1 in a shootout Thursday.

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Czechia, coached by former Canadian defender Carla MacLeod, posted the upset of the tournament so far and reached the semifinals for the first time with a 2-1 overtime win over Finland.

The U.S. had an easier time in their 12-1 quarterfinal win over Hungary to face the Czechs on Saturday.

American forward Hilary Knight’s goal and assist to get to 87 career world championship points surpassed Canada’s Hayley Wickenheiser for the all-time record.

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READ MORE: Hilary Knight passes Hayley Wickenheiser for women’s world hockey championship record

Canada and Sweden met in a world championship game for the first time since 2009, although the Canadians beat the Swedes 11-0 in an Olympic quarterfinal in February.

Soderberg lasted two periods of the quarterfinal in Beijing, but she gobbled up the puck Thursday.

Sweden, the 2006 Olympic silver medallist, was relegated in the 2019 world championship.

The national team then boycotted international competition in protest over compensation and other competitive issues. The dispute was resolved later that year.

The COVID-19 pandemic eliminated second-tier world championships for Sweden to gain promotion, but the world No. 8 replaced Russia in this year’s 10-country tournament.

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The International Ice Hockey Federation has barred Russia from tournaments because of that country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Canada generated sustained pressure in Sweden’s end for long stretches of the first and second periods, but Soderberg helped limit the Canadians to a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes.

Ambrose threaded a shot from the point over Soderberg’s shoulder at 13:10 of the third period.

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Three power-play chances in the first 10 minutes of the second didn’t yield a goal for Canada, which went 0-for-8 overall, but Potomak scored with a highlight-reel even-strength effort.

She scraped the puck off the neutral-zone boards, sliced by Swedish defender Maja Persson Nylen going backhand to forehand to solve Soderberg at 13:56 of the second period.

Larocque scored her first world championship goal in the veteran defender’s 10th tournament.

READ MORE: A look at the teams competing for the 2022 women’s world hockey championship

Outshot 14-1 in the first period, the Swedes held Canada scoreless until 17:11 when Renata Fast, below the goal-line, fed Larocque out front for a successful wrist shot top shelf.

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Canadian head coach Troy Ryan continued juggling his forward lines from the previous day’s practice, most notably shifting Victoria Bach into a trio with Marie-Philip Poulin and Brianne Jenner, and Sarah Nurse getting ice time with Sarah Fillier and Emily Clark.

Click to play video: 'Beijing Olympics: Canada women’s hockey team says gold medal win was ‘very special’'
Beijing Olympics: Canada women’s hockey team says gold medal win was ‘very special’

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