BEIJING, China — Hilary Knight had a goal and an assist, Nicole Hensley stopped 12 shots and the United States women's hockey team beat the Russians 5-0 Saturday night in a preliminary-round game at the Beijing Olympics.
Savannah Harmon had a goal and two assists for the defending Olympic champions, who improved to 2-0 and next play Switzerland (0-2) on Sunday.
The Americans outshot the ROC 62-12 but had difficulty finishing with top-line center Brianna Decker watching on crutches after breaking her ankle in a tournament-opening win over Finland.
ROC’s Maria Sorokina was exceptional in stopping 37 of the first 39 shots she faced, and 38 overall, before the U.S. finally broke the game open by scoring three times over a five-minute span. The run was capped by Alex Carpenter scoring with 11:16 remaining and led to Sorokina being yanked in favor of Daria Gredzen, who stopped 19 shots.
Grace Zumwinkle and Jesse Compher also scored for the U.S. in a game played before a small but vocally pro-Russian crowd.
The U.S. has yet to allow a goal in three Olympic meetings against a Russia-based team. Add in world championship matchups, and the U.S. extended its string to eight consecutive shutouts.
The last goal the U.S. allowed to a Russian team came in a 13-1 win at the 2015 world championships.
Knight’s no-look backhand through the crease set up Harmon for a tap-in at the right post to open the scoring 12:29 in. Knight then scored 8:51 into the second period by tipping Harmon’s shot from the blue line.
Knight’s assist was her 13th in four Olympic appearances, moving her into second on the U.S. women’s career list, one ahead of Julie Chu. She also upped her career point total to 20, fourth on the USA list and two ahead of Cammi Granato.
Hensley came up big when needed, with her best save coming some two minutes before Knight scored by kicking out her left pad to stop Polina Luchnikova’s shot from the slot.
Decker was hurt while being tripped from behind in a 5-2 win Thursday. The three-time Olympian remains with the team, and tests showed no structural damage to her knee, which bent awkwardly as she went down.
Abby Roque took her spot on a line featuring wings Carpenter and Amanda Kessel. The Americans are considering flying in one of their final roster cuts.
The Russian team was greeted by cheers from the small crowd of spectators allowed to attend Games, while the fans were mostly silent when the Americans took the ice before the opening faceoff. One section just to left of the U.S. bench featured fans with large Russian flags.