BRAMPTON, Ontario (AP) — Alex Carpenter scored twice and the United States beat Japan 7-1 on Wednesday to open group play in the women’s world hockey championship.
Also in Group A, Ann-Renee Desbiens made 11 saves and two-time defending champion Canada beat Switzerland 4-0 in the night game in front of 3,510 fans at the 5,000-seat CAA Centre. Earlier in Group B, Jenniina Nylund had three goals to help Finland rout France 14-1.
Haruka Toko opened the scoring for Japan at 8:14 of the first period. Megan Keller tied it at 9:29, and Carpenter made it 2-1 on a power play with 5:14 left in the first period.
“Obviously, we want to be able to respond to any team that quick, so to be able to do that was good for us,” Carpenter said. “Japan’s a great team. They always play us hard.”
Carpenter and Taylor Heise added goals early in the second.
Riko Kawaguchi took over in goal in the third from Miyuu Masuhara, allowing goals to Hannah Bilka, Abbey Murphy and new captain Hilary Knight. Knight also had two assists, and Carpenter had an assist.
“It’s a tremendous honor to be around this room and to lead it, it’s just incredible,” Knight said. “These are the people you want to show up to every single day with.”
Aerin Frankel made 12 saves for the Americans in her first start in the event. Tessa Janecke, Gabrielle Hughes, Rebecca Gilmore and Haley Winn made their senior national team debuts. Janecke assisted on Keller’s tying goal and Winn had two assists in the third period.
“It’s nice to get the first win of the tournament,” U.S. coach John Wroblewski said. “I thought up and down the lineup we had strong skaters, and I think that has to do with our mix of veterans and youth, our exuberance, and it is an emphasis point. We want to make sure we’re maxing out our game every shift. That’s a credit to the team and the individuals.”
The U.S. will face Switzerland on Friday.
Natalie Spooner and Sarah Nurse each had goal and an assist for Canada, with Spooner playing 120 days after giving birth to son Ryan.
“It was awesome,” said Spooner, competing in her ninth world championship. “Just to get back out there even with my teammates, I was having a blast.”
Rebecca Johnston and Sarah Fillier also scored.
In Finland’s rout, Petra Nieminen, Emilia Vesa and Viivi Vainikka each scored twice and Sanni Ahola allowed a goal on 12 shots. Estelle Duvin scored for France.