International Ice Hockey Federation

Hats off to Lamoureux!

U.S. stays perfect with romp over Russia

Published 31.03.2015 15:42 GMT+2 | Author Lucas Aykroyd
Hats off to Lamoureux!
MALMO, SWEDEN - MARCH 31: USA players celebrate after taking a 1-0 lead over Russia during preliminary round action at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Jocelyne Lamoureux's hat trick lifted the U.S. to an 9-2 thrashing of Russia and a perfect preliminary round record on Tuesday in Malmo.

The turbo-charged Americans have a bye to the semi-finals on Friday. Russia will play the first-place team from Group B in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.

"We’re right where we want to be," said Lamoureux. "We’re the number one seed going into the playoff round, and we get an extra day off."

The most famous game in IIHF history was the “Miracle on Ice,” where the underdog American college kids beat Russia’s state-sponsored elite 4-3 at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics. But there was to be no “reverse Miracle” for the Russian women here.

Hilary Knight scored twice and added an assist. Meghan Duggan, Alex Carpenter, and Brianna Decker had a goal and an assist apiece, and Hannah Brandt also scored for the Americans. Anne Schleper chipped in three helpers and Lee Stecklein had two.

"I definitely think we got a lot faster today," said Carpenter. "That’s one of our greatest assets. We got a lot of goals from different lines and different players, so that was nice to see the full team contribution."

Olga Sosina and Lyudmila Belyakova replied for Russia.

Goaltender Molly Schaus got the win as the U.S. outshot Russia by a whopping 49-5 margin. The Americans have now given all three of their netminders one game apiece.

Following the same pattern as versus Canada, the Russians used two goalies, starting off with Maria Sorokina and then switching to Valeria Tarakanova near the halfway mark.

Apart from a few gaffes in the second period, this was a commanding performance for the defending World Champions.

Relentless pressure was the name of the game for the U.S. from the get-go. The Russians hung on to kill off an early 5-on-3 U.S. power play.

Just as in the 4-2 win over Canada, Jocelyne Lamoureux opened the scoring for the U.S. The two-time Olympian didn’t miss a beat after sitting out against Finland, as the Americans continue to experiment with young talent.

After a faceoff in the Russian end, Lamoureux hustled to the net, scooped up a loose puck from an Anne Schleper blast, and deftly backhanded it past Sorokina at 11:03.

Knight put the U.S. up 2-0 at 2:58 of the second period, coming down the middle, taking a great centering pass from Brianna Decker, and sliding it through the Russian goalie. She has goals in all three U.S. games so far.

Less than three minutes later, Duggan floated a shot from the line through traffic and under the crossbar to make it 3-0.

The Russians put Tarakanova in net in lieu of Sorokina less than a minute, and whether or not the intention was to reverse the tide, it worked  -- very temporarily.

Russia cut the deficit to 3-1 at 6:57. Sosina burst into the U.S., pulled a nice inside-out move on blueliner Michelle Picard, and avoided Monique Lamoureux’s check before going top shelf.

A bizarre play enabled the Russians to make it 3-2 at 9:01. Iya Gavrilova cleared the puck out of their zone, and it trickled toward Schaus, who tried to play the puck. Unfortunately, she lost her balance and landed on her rear, enabling the oncoming Lyudmila Belyakova to swat the puck into the gaping cage.

"I think when it’s 3-2, you don’t laugh," said Lamoureux. "When we got up 6-2, then you can kind of laugh about it. She was trying to make the right play and she tripped."

Amazingly, the Russians had now scored on both their shots in the middle frame, and they seemed to have a little life.

Monique Lamoureux turned the puck over at the Russian blue line and Sosina raced away on a near breakaway. Lamoureux rushed back to trip up the Russian attacker, but bashed her head on Schaus, lost her helmet, and got a tripping penalty. However, the Russians couldn't get anything going on the ensuing power play.

And that was it for the mini-comeback.

"Maybe when the score got a little closer, we stopped sticking to our game plan and allowed some mistakes in the defensive zone," said Gavrilova.

With 2:01 left in the middle frame, Jocelyne Lamoureux stepped up with a big power play goal to restore the U.S.’s two-goal lead, hammering a one-timer from the left faceoff circle on a nice Schleper feed.

At 19:14, Brandt made it 5-2 U.S., going to the net and roofing a deft Haley Skarupa feed from behind the goal line. For the second straight period, the U.S. outshot Russia 14-2.

"You can tell they’re faster than us," Gavrilova said of the Americans. "They’re always checking us, always on us, taking time and space away from us."

In the third period, Jocelyne Lamoureux completed her hat trick with the man advantage, pounding a slapper that squeezed through Tarakanova's pads at 4:16. And she made it a four-point night for herself when she set up Alex Carpenter for the seventh U.S. goal at 7:55.

Lamoureux was modest about her exploits: "On the second and third goals, I really had great screens. The goalie didn’t see the puck. I’m not going to score those goals without those screens."

With 6:50 left, Decker cruised into the high slot and unleashed a slapper that beat Tarakanova inside her left post for an 8-2 gap.

Knight rounded out the onslaught, scoring her fifth of the tournament with 2:25 left on a 4-on-3 power play.

Russia has now lost nine consecutive games to the U.S. at the Women’s Worlds, dating back to 1999.

Gavrilova still chose to accentuate the positive in terms of Russia's tournament to date, however: "I think we got better every game. I think we’re going in the right direction."