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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Hefford hits scoring milestone at Four Nations

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KERAVA, Finland -- Jayna Hefford had two goals to reach a scoring milestone and Shannon Szabados made 20 saves as Canada opened the Four Nations Cup with a 6-0 victory over Finland on Tuesday.

Jennifer Wakefield, Rebecca Johnston, Hayley Wickenheiser and Meghan Agosta-Marciano also scored for Canada, which dumped the host side 8-1 in an exhibition tuneup two days earlier. Hefford's second goal was the 150th of her national team career.

"It's a phenomenal feat," said head coach Dan Church. "She's just a true professional. Her talents around the net and just the nose for the puck, and really how hard she works off the puck I think are the keys to her success as a goal scorer."

Canada, whose roster includes Manitobans Brailey Bram and Jocelyne Larocque from Ste. Anne, rolled four effective lines at Kerava Areena and fired 53 shots at netminder Isabella Portnoj.

"We just wanted to get a good strong start to this tournament," Hefford said. "We know we have to get better from here on out."

The Finns have never beaten Canada in women's hockey.

Canada will face the defending champion Americans today before meeting Sweden on Friday. The medal games are Saturday. The Americans blanked Sweden 4-0 on Tuesday.

The U.S. is the defending Four Nations champion, beating the Canadians 4-3 in a shootout last year in Sweden. Hefford and her teammates are excited to play the Americans again.

"It's always the game we look forward to playing," Hefford said. "It's an intense rivalry but it's fun. It brings out the best in us and I think it does in them. We're going to be ready to go tomorrow."

Canada has won the event 12 times in the 16-year history of the tournament. The event also serves as an evaluation opportunity for team brass ahead of the 2013 world championship in Ottawa this April.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 7, 2012 C2

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