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By Brad Elliott Schlossman, Published February 08 2014

SOCHI GAMES: U.S. women beat Finland in opener

The U.S. women’s hockey team was so intent on avoiding an upset on opening day that the coaching staff did not allow players to attend the Opening Ceremonies on Friday night.

The Americans scored on their first shift of the game and went on to beat Finland 3-1 in front of 4,135 early Saturday morning in the first pool play game, which had a distinct UND flavor to it.

UND freshman Susanna Tapani scored the lone goal for Finland, burying a pass from UND teammate Michelle Karvinen in the third period. But the Americans, who feature UND grads Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux, came away with the victory.

If the U.S. beats Switzerland at 4 a.m. Monday, it will clinch a bye to the semifinals.

The Lamoureux twins were held without a point but were factors in the game, launching four shots on goal. Jocelyne hit the post in the second period. Warroad’s Gigi Marvin was second on the team with six shots on goal during the game.

Team USA outshot Finland 43-15, but Finnish goal Noora Raty, who starred at the University of Minnesota, played outstanding.

Each member of Team USA’s second line registered a goal, beginning with former University of Wisconsin star Hilary Knight.

Knight intercepted a pass, skated in on a breakaway and snapped a shot past Raty just 53 seconds into the game.

Kelli Stack added to the lead at 7:42 of the second period, batting a loose puck out of mid air to give the Americans a 2-0 lead. Later in the period, Carpenter scored on a backhand from a tight angle to make it 3-0.

Tapani drew a penalty late in the third period, then snapped the shutout bid of goaltender Jessie Vetter. An American defenseman tried to rim the puck around the boards, but Karvinen cut it off in the corner, spotted Tapani backdoor and made a perfect pass. Tapani, playing in her first Olympic game, buried the shot at 15:22 for the only goal of the third.

The game was broadcasted live on NBC Sports Network and UND was a frequent topic. Commentators Mike “Doc” Emrick and Pierre McGuire referenced the school no less than 15 times, discussing the four players on the ice in the game.

They also showed a photo of last year’s UND team, while Emrick told stories about the old Barn and how Cal Marvin, Gigi’s grandfather, started the program.