Kendall Coyne Schofield #26 of Team USA plays against Team Finland during the women's ice hockey preliminary round on Feb. 3, 2022 in Beijing.
Kendall Coyne Schofield and Alex Carpenter scored twice, Maddie Rooney made 10 saves and the United States women’s hockey team topped Finland 5-2 in its first game of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
Amanda Kessel also scored as Team USA improved to 7-0-0 in the opening game of Olympic play. Savannah Harmon also chipped in with two assists.
Alternate captain Brianna Decker left the game midway through the first period with a lower-body injury and will not return for the remainder of the Olympics.
“It is a tough loss, especially so early in this tournament,” Kessel said of Decker. “She is a huge part of this team. … We want to win for her.”
Finnish goaltender Anni Keisala made 47 saves and Susanna Tapani scored two power-play goals, but the United States defeated Finland for the ninth consecutive time in the Olympics, dating back to 1998.
Coyne Schofield put the game out of reach with two goals in 64 seconds early in the second period. Defenseman Cayla Barnes made a quick outlet pass and then the Team USA captain wired a wrist shot past the Finnish goaltender to give the U.S. a 3-0 lead at 5:32.
Shortly after, Coyne Schofield redirected a shot from Harmon to give the United States a four-goal advantage. Hannah Brandt won an offensive zone face-off cleanly to set up the opportunity at 6:36 of the middle frame.
The U.S. outshot Finland 19-2 in the second period.
“It's always hard in the first game of any tournament, let alone the Olympics, but I was really impressed by our players,” coach Joel Johnson said. “I give them a ton of credit. That second period was outstanding and I thought we really controlled the game from that point on.”
Rooney was penalized for a delay of game penalty for playing the puck in the restricted area to the side of the net which led to a Finland power play that Tapani capitalized on at 3:15 of the third period.
Tapani added her second with 2:20 remaining in the third. The game initially ended but after review Tapani’s shot deflected off the camera in the back of the net and the teams replayed the remainder of the game.
"First and second period we weren't really there. We didn't win enough battles and loose pucks,” Finland defenseman Jenni Hiirikoski said. "But we came back in the third period and we improved our game."
Kessel opened the scoring shortly after Decker left the game with a nifty deke in close at 10:37 of the first period. The three-time Olympian darted to the net from the left corner and slid the puck between the legs of Keisala.
Carpenter extended the U.S. lead to 2-0 with a power-play goal. Kelly Pannek delivered a beautiful cross-ice pass to set up Carpenter on the man advantage. Carpenter, who led the team in scoring in 2014 in Sochi, was one of the last players cut prior to the 2018 Olympics.
“It was an unbelievable pass, Carpenter told USA Network following the game. “For a second I didn’t even realize it was on my stick. It was a great job coming in by Kelly there to give me a great feed.”
The U.S. took a 5-1 lead when Carpenter notched her second of the game at 8:01 of the third period. Abby Roque, who moved up the lineup to fill in for the injured Decker, registered the primary assist when she found Carpenter near the far post.
Team USA will play the Russian Olympic Committee in its second preliminary round game on Saturday, Feb. 5 at 8:10 a.m. ET.