THE CANADIAN PRESS
NYKOPINGS, Sweden — Canada used a balanced offensive attack to defeat Finland 5-0 in Wednesday's opening game at the Four Nations Cup women's hockey tournament.
Five different players scored for the defending champions in the preliminary-round matchup at Stora Hallen Arena.
"I think it speaks to the depth that we have on our team," said head coach Dan Church. "Almost every player on our team is a goalscorer with their club team. It's good to see different people chipping in."
Jennifer Wakefield of Pickering, Ont., gave Canada the early lead by scoring just 46 seconds into the game. Vicki Bendus of Wasaga Beach, Ont., added a power-play goal later in the period and Jesse Scanzano of Montreal made it 3-0 a few minutes later.
Jayna Hefford of Kingston, Ont., and Courtney Birchard of Mississauga, Ont., added insurance goals in the second. Shannon Szabados of Edmonton turned aside 15 shots for the shutout while Isabella Portnoj made 49 saves for Finland.
Canada will play the world champion Americans on Thursday before concluding the preliminary round Saturday against host Sweden. The medal games are Sunday.
Veteran forward Gillian Apps of Unionville, Ont., said her teammates are excited to take on their longtime rivals.
"Whether it's at a Four Nations Cup, an exhibition game or the world championships, it's always a good game between Canada and the U.S.," Apps said. "It's why we play. It's an absolutely amazing game to be a part of."
Canada improved its all-time record against Finland to 53-0-1 with the victory.
Finland has narrowed the gap between the two countries over the last few years. Canada edged Finland 3-2 in their last meeting in August.
Canada has won 12 gold and three silver medals in Four Nations and Three Nations events since the first tournament was played in 1996.