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Larocque pots winner

Ste. Anne product starts the scoring in Canada's win over Switzerland

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Nathan Denette / the canadian press
Jocelyne Larocque of Ste. Anne, Man., celebrates her goal with Canadian teammates while facing Switzerland Saturday.

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Nathan Denette / the canadian press Jocelyne Larocque of Ste. Anne, Man., celebrates her goal with Canadian teammates while facing Switzerland 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.

"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, Man.

'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'

-- Team Canada blue-liner Jocelyne Larocque

Larocque whipped a wrist shot from the point early in the first period, beating Swiss goalie Florence Schelling to start 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 Saturday.

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 to 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 and 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

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 9, 2014 B2

History

Updated on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 10:31 PM CST: Corrects misspelling of Larocque's name.

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About Gary Lawless

Gary Lawless is the Free Press sports columnist and co-host of the Hustler and Lawless show on TSN 1290 Winnipeg and www.winnipegfreepress.com
Lawless began covering sports as a rookie reporter at The Chronicle-Journal in Thunder Bay after graduating from journalism school at Durham College in Ontario.
After a Grey Cup winning stint with the Toronto Argonauts in the communications department, Lawless returned to Thunder Bay as sports editor.
In 1999 he joined the Free Press and after working on the night sports desk moved back into the field where he covered pro hockey, baseball and football beats prior to being named columnist.

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