MALMO, Sweden. – The U.S. Women's National Team defeated Finland, 4-1, here today at the 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation Women's World Championship. Hilary Knight (Sun Valley, Idaho) registered a pair of goals and one assist while Brianna Decker (Dousman, Wis.) notched three assists.
"We were a little flat out of the gate but we turned it on and had an impressive showing," said Ken Klee, head coach of the 2015 U.S. Women's National Team. "We just got stronger as the game went on and generated a lot of offense. It's another building block toward our ultimate goal in the tournament."
Finland opened the scoring at 10:01 of the first period but Team USA responded 31 seconds later with the first of two Knight goals in the period. Decker won an offensive-zone draw and pushed the puck forward to Knight who snapped it past Finland's goaltender to make it 1-1.
Knight tallied her second goal on the power play, tucking in the rebound of a Decker shot from the top of the circle to make it 2-1, which is how the period ended.
Just 1:16 into the second period, Knight carried the puck into the offensive zone on a two-on-one and feathered a pass to Decker but her shot was stopped before Kendall Coyne (Palos Heights, Ill.) collected the rebound and put it in to extend the lead to 3-1.
Hannah Brandt (Vadnais Heights, Minn.) tallied a shorthanded goal at 16:18 off a long outlet pass from Megan Keller (Farmington, Mich.). Brandt toe-dragged the defender and fired a shot that beat the goalie over her glove hand.
Alex Rigsby (Cottage Grove, Wis.) stopped 11 of 12 shots she faced to earn the victory.
Team USA is back in preliminary action on Tuesday (March 31) against Russia at 6 a.m. ET.
Notes: The U.S. outshot Finland 53-12 ... Hilary Knight was named U.S. Player of the Game ... The U.S. has played in the gold-medal game in all 15 of the previous events, capturing the event’s top prize a total of five times (2005, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013), including four of the last five tournaments and five of the last seven.