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From USAHockey.com

HARBIN, China Paced by a pair of goals from both Jenny Potter (Edina, Minn.) and Karen Thatcher (Douglas, Mass.), the U.S. Women’s National Team posted an 8-1 victory over Germany to open the 2008 International Ice Hockey Federation World Women’s Championship here today at the Baqu Arena.

After skating to a 1-1 tie in the first period, Team USA notched three goals in the second period and added four more in the final frame to seal the win.

“I thought overall it was a good effort,” said Jackie Barto, head coach for Team USA. “It was a bit of a slow start, but once we got our legs under us, we played really strong second and third periods. We generated a lot of scoring chances through offensive play and by getting our defense involved. It was a great game to build from.”

Despite a 13-3 U.S. shots advantage in the opening frame, the game was knotted at 1-1 after 20 minutes. Potter put Team USA on the board first at the 14:25 mark when she tapped in a Julie Chu (Fairfield, Conn.) slap shot from the right point during a power-play opportunity. However, the American lead didn’t last long, as Manuela Anwander slipped a backhanded shot under the arm of U.S. netminder Jessie Vetter (Cottage Grove, Wis.) at 15:41.

In the second period, Team USA held the Germans shotless, while putting up 15 and taking a 4-1 advantage. Potter netted her second of the outing just 1:30 into the frame when she put one low inside the left post. The next U.S. goal came at 9:30, as Thatcher lifted the puck in from the right goalmouth. Angela Ruggiero (Harper Woods, Mich.), who was playing in her 200th career game for the United States, closed out the period’s scoring at 11:17 when her centering pass from the right boards bounced off a German defender and over goalie Viona Harrer.

Thatcher potted her second goal of the game at 1:58 of the final stanza off a Rachael Drazan (Orono, Minn.) shot from the top of the slot to extend the United States’ lead to 5-1. Just over a minute later, at 3:11, captain Natalie Darwitz (Eagan, Minn.) gave Team USA a 6-1 advantage.

Meghan Duggan (Danvers, Mass.) continued the U.S. scoring in the third period at 12:42 when she beat two German defenders in front of the net and put a hard wrist shot past Harrer. Sarah Parsons (Dover, Mass.) roofed one at 16:08 to close out the scoring and give Team USA the 8-1 victory.

Vetter made three saves in net for Team USA, while Harrer stopped 34 for Germany.

The United States returns to action in its second and final preliminary-round game on Sunday, April 6, against Switzerland at 3:30 a.m. EDT.

NOTES: Jenny Potter was named U.S. Player of the Game … Six different players scored for the United States … The line of Karen Thatcher, Jenny Potter and Sarah Parsons combined for five goals … Team USA went 1-for-5 on the power play, while holding Germany scoreless on four man-advantage chances … All Team USA games are being audiocast live via usahockey.com… Team USA has won one gold medal and nine silver medals in the 10 previous IIHF World Women’s Championships … Joining Jackie Barto on the coaching staff as assistant coaches are Paul Flanagan, head women’s ice hockey coach at St. Lawrence University, and Kevin Houle, head women’s ice hockey coach at SUNY-Plattsburgh. Dave Flint, head women’s ice hockey coach at Saint Anselm College, is serving as the goaltending coach.

Complete boxscore, game notes and more available on the women’s team page on www.USAHockey.com.