February 11, 2022
By Amy Tennery
BEIJING (Reuters) – Defending Olympic champions the United States beat Czech Republic 4-1 in a tougher-than-expected women’s ice hockey quarter-final at the Beijing Olympics on Friday.
Czech forward Michaela Pejzlova drew first blood five minutes into the second period to wake up a furious American team who retaliated 48 seconds later when four-time Olympian Hilary Knight knocked a rebound into the net.
The Czechs had a chance to regain the momentum after officials sent U.S. forward Dani Cameranesi to the penalty box for five minutes on a boarding call but could not break through the American defences.
A shot from U.S. assistant captain Lee Stecklein ricocheted off a Czech defender’s stick and through the legs of netminder Klara Peslarova to give the Americans the lead midway through the third period.
Savannah Harmon knocked one into the bottom corner to add to the advantage 10 minutes later and captain Kendall Coyne Schofield wrapped up the win with seconds left on the clock.
It was more of a test than the twice gold medallists expected from the Czechs, who were making their debut in the tournament.
The U.S. had a total of 59 shots on goal compared to six from their opponents, who did not produce a shot on net in the first period.
“You’ve just got to keep shooting – doesn’t matter how many shots you’ve taken, one’s going to go in,” Knight told reporters at Wukesong Sports Centre.
“These goalies are great at this level and we really have to challenge them.”
The game also underscored the Americans’ struggles during the tournament on the power play, as they failed to score on a short-handed Czech team twice in the opening frame.
“Stats-wise it doesn’t look great,” said Knight. “But it’s going to come when it needs to come.”
(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Ken Ferris)