Jocelyne Larocque celebrates a goal at the 2022 IIHF Women's Hockey World ChampionshipBo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix via AP
Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix via AP

Canada defeats Sweden to advance to women’s hockey worlds semifinals

Canada is moving on to the semifinals at the 2022 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Denmark.

Jocelyne Larocque, Sarah Potomak and Erin Ambrose scored in Canada’s 3-0 quarterfinal victory over Sweden on Thursday. Goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens returned to the Canadian crease where she only faced nine shots in the shutout victory.

Canada, the defending world champions, will play Switzerland in semifinal play on Saturday at noon ET. The other semifinal will feature the United States taking on Czechia. The semifinal winners will advance to Sunday’s gold medal contest.

Despite outshooting Sweden 57-9 overall, the Canadians led just 1-0 after one period and 2-0 after two. With the game still close, Canada pressed hard offensively for much of the third, firing 24 shots at the Swedish net.

The Canadians dominated possession in the first period, outshooting Sweden 14-1. After failing to connect on a couple power plays earlier in the frame, Larocque opened the scoring at 17:11. Renata Fast sent a pass from the goal line to Larocque in the circle who beat Swedish netminder Emma Söderberg, giving the veteran Canadian defenseman her first career goal at a women’s worlds.

Laura Stacey drew two penalties in the second period but the Canadians couldn’t convert on either advantage. Then at 10:44, Paula Bergström put an illegal hit on Kristin O’Neill to send Canada to another power play — but the Canadians once again struggled to create quality chances.

With 6:40 remaining in the period, the puck was loose in the Swedish crease but nobody in red was able to get a stick on it. Moments later, with 6:04 left, Potomak entered the offensive zone with speed, got around a Swedish defender and then beat Söderberg with a deke to her backhand to give Canada a 2-0 advantage.

Canada took two penalties late in the period which forced Desbiens to make a couple big stops to maintain the two-goal lead.

Canada went to a sixth power play at 3:34 of the third and nearly got a third goal, forcing Söderberg to make several saves during a scramble in the crease.

The Canadians were pressing hard offensively throughout the period and were rewarded for their efforts at 13:10. Ambrose had the puck at the line and found a clean shooting lane to give Canada a 3-0 lead.

Thursday’s other quarterfinals saw Switzerland defeat Japan 2-1 in a shootout, the United States hammer Hungary 12-1, and Czechia down Finland 2-1 in overtime.