The U.S. women's hockey team opened the Olympics with a comfortable 6-0 win Saturday over Switzerland and a timely reminder that one good goalie can reduce the Americans' huge talent advantages in a hurry.
Tricia Dunn-Luoma scored a 5-on-3 shorthanded goal, captain Krissy Wendell added two third-period goals and the Americans eventually overcame Patricia Elsmore-Sautter's superb 50-save performance.
Rising 18-year-old star Sarah Parsons scored a goal and Chanda Gunn made just nine saves in their Olympic debuts. The Americans were frustrated in the first two periods of the preliminary round, only getting goals from their two oldest players despite dominating every other aspect of play.
Katie King, one of four Americans playing in their third Olympics, scored early in the first period. Dunn-Luoma added her unlikely breakaway goal midway through the second, but only Wendell's first score on a pass from Angela Ruggiero finally allowed the Americans to relax.
U.S. coach Ben Smith repeatedly warned his team about Elsmore-Sautter. The international veteran played at Minnesota-Duluth alongside U.S. veteran Jenny Potter, who also scored with 1:10 to play.
And the Swiss goalie's tenacity might benefit the Americans, who repeatedly played against Canada and Finland during their pre-Olympic tour, but haven't seen much of the other Olympic teams.
The Americans will face Germany on Sunday before finishing the preliminary round against talented Finland on Tuesday, reports AP.
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