By Josh Ferguson
The Canadian women’s team kicked off their run for a third straight Olympic gold medal with an 18-0 drubbing of the Slovaks in Group A action at Canada Hockey Place on Sunday night.
The host nation’s team opened the tournament in style by setting a women’s Olympic record with 18 goals, eclipsing their previous record of 16, set in 2006.
It didn’t take long for the Canadians to welcome the Slovaks to their first Olympic Games as Thunder Bay native Haley Irwin scored just 1:39 into the opening frame, eventually proving to be the game winner.
Canada would add six more goals in the first period and never look back in a convincing tournament-opening victory. The seven goals in the first tied a women’s Olympic record for goals in a period.
Kingston native Jayna Hefford opened her fourth Olympic Games by leading all Canadians with three goals and six points. Meghan Agosta also notched a hat trick and collected two helpers on her way to a five-point night.
Olympic newcomers Irwin, Rebecca Johnston, Marie-Philip Poulin, Tessa Bonhomme and Catherine Ward each collected points in their debuts.
The match saw 11 different Canadians collect a goal while 17 of 18 Canadian skaters registered at least a point in the contest.
Canadian backstop Kim St-Pierre stopped all nine Slovakian shots to collect her 25th shutout all-time as the national team’s goaltender.
Despite giving up 18 goals on the 67 shots from the furious Canadian attack, Slovakian goaltender Zuzana Tomcikova toughed out the storm and played the entire game.
With the win, the Canadians start out 1-0 in Group A action while the Slovaks will now have uphill climb starting the tournament 0-1 record.
The Canadians are off until Monday where they will meet the Swiss in their second game. The Swiss began their run with a 3-0 loss to the Swedes on Sunday night.
The Slovaks hope to even their Group A record in a match against Team Sweden on Monday.