ESPOO, Finland (AP) — Hilary Knight put the U.S. ahead during a five-goal third period Thursday, rallying the Americans past host Finland 6-2 on opening day of the women’s world hockey championship.
The U.S. women have won the last four worlds and seven of the last eight. The reigning Olympic champs have lost only one opener in 18 previous worlds – in 2013 when they opened against Canada. The top rivals in women’s hockey play Saturday in the Group A preliminary round.
Ten players had at least a point for the U.S., which has lost only once to Finland in 15 previous games.
Finland led 2-1 after two periods when the Americans broke through against goalie Noora Raty. Melissa Samoskevich tied it at 3:10 of the third before Knight put the U.S. ahead to stay at 4:51.
Captain Kendall Coyne Schofield had a goal and two assists, and Knight and Alex Carpenter each finished with a goal and an assist. Brianna Decker and Annie Pankowski had a goal apiece.
The Finns took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Elisa Holopainen at 9:28 of the first. Coyne Schofield tied it at 17:48 of the first. Petra Nieminen gave Finland a 2-1 lead with a power-play goal at 11:18 in the second. Then the Americans took control in the third.
In other games, Canada blanked Switzerland 6-0, Japan beat France 3-0 and Germany topped Sweden 2-1.
Emily Clark had two goals for Canada. Also scoring were Loren Gabel, Natalie Spooner, Jamie Lee Rattray and Blayre Turnbull. Shannon Szabados made six saves for her 20th career shutout.
Canada, which last won the event in 2012, was playing without forward and captain Marie-Philip Poulin, who has a knee injury.
The Canadians went up 2-0 after the first period when Gabel and Spooner scored 16 seconds apart. They put the game out of reach in the third when Clark scored twice in a span of just over six minutes. Switzerland goaltender Andrea Brandli made 41 saves.
Japan won in Group B. For Germany, Laura Kluge had the only goal of a shootout. Sofia Engstrom gave Sweden the lead 9:53 into the second period before Germany tied it when Emily Nix scored just over four minutes later.
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