BUDAPEST, Hungary - Five different players scored and 12 players notched at least one point, while goaltender Erin O'Neil (Minnetonka, Minn.) made 16 saves to help the U.S. Women's National Under-18 Team defeat Russia, 6-1, in its first game of the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation Women's Under-18 World Championship here today.
"We were a little tenuous at the start of the game but we eventually got more comfortable and our skilled players stepped it up a notch. said Jeff Kampersal head coach of the U.S. Women's National Under-18 Team. "We'll continue to improve and will be prepared to face Hungary tomorrow."
Team USA managed to build a two-goal lead after one period thanks to goals by Maliya Rodgers (Minnetonka, Minn.) and Taylor Williamson (Edina, Minn.). Rodger's marker opened the scoring when she connected with Grace Bizal (Minnetonka, Minn.) just 6:55 into the contest. Williamson doubled the U.S. advantage at 12:18 with help from Rebecca Gilmore (Wayland, Mass.) and Megan Keller (Farmington, Mich.).
Baylee Wellhausen (Williams Bay, Wis.), who also had an assist in the game, boosted the Team USA lead to 3-0 at 9:38 of the middle frame when she beat Russian goaltender Valeriya Tarakanova seconds after a U.S. power play expired. Jincy Dunne (O'Fallon, Mo.) and Maddie Rolfes (West Des Moines, Iowa) were credited with the helpers on the play. Taylar Cianfarano (Oswego, N.Y.) buried one at 12:01 to make it 4-0 before Sophie Skarzynski (Wilmette, Ill.) then struck for a tally of her own at 13:18 to give the United States a five-goal cushion.
The U.S. increased its lead to 6-0 at 2:24 of the final stanza when Rodgers notched her second goal of the contest. Russia's Anna Shokhina closed the scoring at 13:42.
Brooke Ahbe (Centennial, Colo.), Lexie Laing (Marblehead, Mass.), Abby Roque (Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.), Melissa Samoskevich (Sandy Hook, Conn.) and Grace Zarzecki (Chicago, Ill.) also found the scoresheet for the Americans with a single assist each.
The U.S. Women's National Under-18 Team will continue play in the 2014 IIHF Women's Under-18 World Championship tomorrow (March 24) when it squares off with Hungary at 1:30 p.m. ET.
NOTES: Baylee Wellhausen was named the U.S. Player of the Game. Team USA's captain is Jincy Dunne, while its alternate captains are Sydney Baldwin and Lexie Laing.