Females are facing an off-ice fight at all levels of hockey

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Playing Finland, a team that Canada was 20-0 lifetime against in the world championship, should have been a breeze.

Effort wasn't the problem.

Also on Saturday, Team Canada goes up against Team Finland at 7:30pm EST.

Seven Canadians, including national team defenceman Halli Krzyzaniak, played for UND this season.

"We were just taking it shift by shift there, just focusing in on how you can get pucks to the net and what not", Decker said. "I think we were kind of stressed a little bit, I think it was nerves a little bit with the crowd there". This is a test for Canada. "We need to find a way to get more pucks to the net and play with the details and habits that we know we can play with". One thing the United States team did very right in their win on Friday was to use combinations of players who had already played together. Members of the National Hockey League were even willing to go as far as boycotting the IIHF Men's World Championship in support of the women's team.

"We're givin' it our all right now, but we're not clicking", Jenner said, with a sigh, straight-faced, minutes after Team Canada lost to Finland for the first time in women's hockey history.

For the first time, though, there's hope for girls aspiring to play hockey as a career when they become women.

Eight current and former Fighting Hawks are representing four countries at the world championship that opened Friday at USA Hockey Arena.

Each crisp, tape-to-tape pass and energetic burst up and down the USA Hockey Arena ice Friday night demonstrated to a near-capacity crowd that there was nothing to be anxious about.

As of today, the US team has played two of its three preliminary matches. It's hard to say if this is a permanent replacement or if the newcomers are just being given an extra test before centralization, but they will be interesting players to keep your eye on.

"The way the circumstances unfolded last night for us, it's important for us to get up and realize we're still in the thick of things", Canadian assistant coach Duane Gylywoychuk said. "But with every game, I feel better and better". The medal games are Friday.

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Despite out-shooting Canada 11-5 in the first period, the United States appeared to be shaking off some rust as they returned to form.

Team USA, which includes Minnesota Duluth sophomore Maddie Rooney as backup goaltender, took a 1-0 lead after Brianna Decker scored on a cross-crease pass from Megan Bozek.

What ripple effect the American women's activism will have on hockey both inside and outside their country remains to be seen.

Blayre Turnbull's goal Saturday was a textbook example of what Canada needs more of as she rifled a shot from one knee in the slot off a short, quick dish from Lauriane Rougeau.

At the next level of women's hockey, a professional league in Canada and another in the US are trying to make it independently. I have not been following Team Canada and its exploits closely enough for long enough to be able to say with any authority what all of their mistakes have been over the years and I was not in detail-oriented recap mode while watching. "We're contributing to something bigger, and if we all make these steps, we will certainly get there someday". If USA Hockey expects American women to continue to dominate, it must support players not only at the top but also at the grassroots level.

This year's world championship has been anything but predictable.

"I think both Canada and the US had trouble past year with other countries", said Schuler.

The showdown ended less than 72 hours before the puck dropped with the women gaining significant concessions.

The U.S. blanked Russian Federation 7-0 for their second shutout in as many days.

Germany, promoted from the second-tier world championship, was atop Pool B with wins over Sweden and the Czech Republic.

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