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Manitoban scores as Canadian women whip Switzerland

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Canada defenceman Jocelyne Larocque (3) celebrates her goal with Canada forward Natalie Spooner, centre, and teammates while playing against Switzerland during first period women's Olympic hockey action at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia on Saturday.

NATHAN DENETTE / THE CANADIAN PRESS Enlarge Image

Canada defenceman Jocelyne Larocque (3) celebrates her goal with Canada forward Natalie Spooner, centre, and teammates while playing against Switzerland during first period women's Olympic hockey action at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia on Saturday.

SOCHI, Russia - Jocelyne Larocque has a new title: Olympic goal scorer.

It’s a pretty exclusive club and even more so in her hometown of Ste. Anne, Manitoba.

"I think I’m the first person from Ste. Anne to score in the Olympics," said Larocque. "I hope someone kept the puck."

Larocque’s first shot as an Olympian counted for both a goal and win. Not bad, for the defender from Ste. Anne, Manitoba.

Larocque whipped a wrist shot from the point early in the first period beating Swiss goalie Florence Schelling for a 1-0 Team Canada lead that stood up for 60 minutes.

Canada piled it on scoring four more goals to take a 5-0 win in its first action at the Winter Olympics.

Tara Watchorn, Hayley Wickenheiser, Marie-Philip Poulin and Rebecca Johnston also scored for Canada.

The Canadians fired 69 shots on goal against Switzerland’s 14.

Charline LaBonte was perfect in net for Canada and coach Kevin Dineen earned his first Olympic win behind the bench.

Larocque had been building for the moment all her life and took her shot just a minute and 25 seconds into the game.

"It was fun. A great competitive game. The puck was trickling in the high slot and I just tried to shoot it on net. I didn’t even see it go in, to be honest," said the 25-year-old graduate of the University of Minnesota-Duluth. "Great way to start the game and great way to start the Olympics for myself."

Team Canada tailored a plan for this year which included the coaching staff wearing down the players to near exhaustion in the latter stages of 2013 before tapering off in the early days of this year with an eye to peaking as the Olympics opened. Larocque says the plan has worked leaving her and her teammates packed with zip.

"All the lines were clicking and everyone had a lot of energy. It was great we were able to produce a lot of goals," said Larocque.

The Swiss were unable to pressure the faster and larger Canadians who had lots of time with the puck. Maybe too much as they held onto it too long at times didn’t move the puck crisply.

Dineen didn’t want to overanalyze the victory but instead elected to focus on the positives.

"We got our game in order and we looked like we had our energy. It was a good start for us," said Dineen. "We tried to take the cute out of our game. It’s easy to pick on your team when the execution is where it’s at. In the end it’s a game where we thought there was a lot of nervous energy out there. But execution is something we talk about on a daily basis and how we want to play the way we need to play and for the most part I think there was a pretty good snapshot of that out there (Saturday)."

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @garylawless

History

Updated on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:23 AM CST: added photo

10:58 AM: updated story

12:21 PM: changed photo

12:25 PM: fixed cutline typo

10:59 PM: Fixes typo.

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