Knight breaks U.S. record in quarterfinal win vs. Japan at women’s world


Hilary Knight, centre, of the United States, celebrates her goal with teammates Kendall Coyne Schofield, left, and Brianna Decker as Russia's Ilona Markova looks away during second period IIHF Women's World Championship hockey action in Calgary, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021. (Jeff McIntosh / CP)

CALGARY, Alberta — Hilary Knight had two goals and an assist to break Cammi Granato’s U.S. points record in women’s world hockey championship play, helping the Americans beat Japan 10-2 on Saturday in the quarterfinals.

Knight tied Granato at 78 points with a goal in the first and broke the mark with an assist in the second. Knight added her record-extending 47th goal in the event in the third. With 80 points, the eight-time world champion trails only former Canadian stars Hayley Wickenheiser (86) and Jayna Hefford (83).

"To learn from some of the greats, to be able to play with some of the greats has been an honor," Knight said. "It’s a special night. I was happy I could celebrate it with the girls. But obviously, you kind of have to put that to the side and understand that it’s a one-game tournament at this point. "

The five-time defending champion United States will face Finland on Monday in the semifinals in a rematch of the Americans’ 2-1 shootout victory in the 2019 championship game in Finland the last time the event was played.

Sanni Vanhanen scored and Anni Keisala made 29 saves in Finland’s 1-0 victory over the Czech Republic in the late game.

The United States — winners of eight of the last nine titles and nine of the last 11 — beat Finland 3-0 in group play.

Ten-time champion Canada will play Switzerland in the other semifinal.

Canada followed its 5-1 victory over the United States on Thursday night in their round-robin finale with a 7-0 victory over Germany. In the first quarterfinal, Laura Zimmerman scored at 5:29 of overtime to give Switzerland a 3-2 victory over Russia.

Alex Carpenter and Grace Zumwinkle also each scored twice for the United States. Megan Keller, Brianna Decker, Caroline Harvey and Dani Cameranesi added goals.

"We’re really approaching the rest of the tournament with a chip on our shoulder," Knight said. "I think it was a great response today by our squad and that was shown on the scoreboard."

The U.S. outshot Japan 61-12, with Alex Cavallini making eight saves in the first two periods and Nicole Hensley stopping two shots in the third.

"They started out really fast and continued to play with that pace, so it was fun to watch," coach Joel Johnson said.

Akane Shiga scored twice for Japan.

Canada struck quickly against short-handed Germany, with Ashton Bell opening the scoring at 1:29 of the first and Natalie Spooner following at 3:54 with the first of her two goals. Brianne Jenner, Melodie Daoust, Marie-Philip Poulin and Sarah Fillier also scored, and Emerance Maschmeyer made three saves as Canada had a 52-3 shots edge.

"I think the biggest thing for us was that games like that can get away from you a little bit, and players can get individual," Canadian coach Troy Ryan said. "I thought for the most part we tried to keep doing what we’ve been doing all event long. I think we continued to play with some structure, which was one of the positives."

Injuries limited Germany to 16 skaters.

Switzerland won after dropping all four games in group play, with Sinja Leeman feeding Zimmerman in overtime for a one-timer past goalie Valeria Merkusheva.

Evelina Raselli pulled Switzerland within a goal midway through the third period, and Phoebe Staenz tied it with 2:16 left in regulation.

Yelizaveta Rodnova and Ilona Markova scored for Russia in the first period to chase goalie Andrea Braendli. Saskia Maurer stopped all 28 shots she faced in relief.

The Swiss were without top scorer Alina Muller. She injured her ankle in the first preliminary-round game, a loss to Russia.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.