In women’s hockey, Team Russia scored four unanswered goals in the third period to beat Team Germany 4-1 in the opening game for both teams at the Sochi Olympics.
Olga Sosina scored twice for the host country, while captain Yekaterina Smolentseva added a goal and two assists, much to the delight of the crowd of over 5,000 at Shayba Arena.
Iya Gavrilova also scored for the Russians, whose general manager is former NHL player Alexei Yashin, who represented Russia at the Olympics in 1998, 2002, and 2006.
Meanwhile, Franziska Busch had the lone goal for the Germans.
After a scoreless first period, Busch opened the scoring in the second period for the Germans. After taking a cross-ice breakout pass from defenceman Anja Weisser, Manuela Anwander gained the Russian zone before dropping the puck back to Busch. Her wristshot floated in on goal, but it dipped under the arm of Russian goaltender Yulia Leskina and went in for an unlikely 1-0 German lead.
The Russians had plenty of opportunities in the first two periods, but they couldn’t beat German goaltender Viona Harrer, who kept her team in the game with several key saves while the Russians kept the play in the German end.
However, the Russians took over in the third period, and the flood gates opened.
Gavrilova got her team on the board five minutes into the period, bouncing off a check from Andrea Lanzl behind the German net, then stuffing the puck under Harrer for the equalizer.
With defenceman Tanja Eisenschmid in the box, the Russians continued to apply pressure. A shot from Inna Dyubanok made its way out to Sosina in the left faceoff circle. Sosina’s shot was going wide, but it deflected off Lanzl and in.
Smolentseva added an insurance marker 38 seconds later, leading a 2-on-1 with Gavrilova. Smolentseva kept the puck, and she went five-hole on Harrer for the 3-1 lead.
Sosina rounded out the scoring during a 4-on-4 stretch. Again, Dyubanok’s first shot was stopped by Harrer, but Sosina was at the top of the crease to bang home the rebound.
Russia thoroughly outplayed Germany in the third period, outshooting them 17-1 en route to a 37-15 overall shot differential.
It was also a record-setting day for the Russians. According to the IIHF, 16-year-old Anna Shokhina became the youngest player to play for the Russian national team, men or women. Meanwhile, 41-year-old Yekaterina Pashkevich became the oldest woman to play Olympic hockey.
Both teams play again Tuesday. The Russians will play Japan, while Germany will play Sweden.