Hayley's comet soared over Winnipeg last night.
Team Canada captain Hayley Wickenheiser fired three goals and an assist to lead her charges to an 8-0 rout over a desperate Team Germany in a 2007 Women's World Hockey Championship contest before 10,715 raucous fans at the MTS Centre last night.
Thanks to Wickenheiser's heroics, the Canucks were able to overcome a hot netminder who had frustrated most shooters with brilliant saves all night.
Germany's Viona Harrer, making her first start of the tourney, surrendered seven goals on 68 shots before being rested.
"Give her a lot of credit, she hung in there and played a very brave game," said Wickenheiser. "It was a great game by a team that was heavily out-manned and she kept them in the game and made it exciting for the fans. So, I'm happy with the response from the crowd (which applauded Harrer).
"We were a little up and down but they play the trap style and that gets frustrating. And with the saves she was making early on in the game, we just squeezed our sticks a little bit on the open nets that we had. All in all, for a game like that, we played pretty well. And I stopped hitting posts, I got a new stick."
Wickenheiser was one of three players honoured before the game for exceeding the 100-goal mark with Team Canada.
"Hayley's a competitor and every night she's proven it since she's been here," said Canada coach Melody Davidson. "(Last night) was a real special night for her with the celebration and her parents being here. And she was ready to go, as you saw."
Wickenheiser appreciated the tribute.
"That was really nice and some of the players were really emotional about it," she said. "And it was really nice to have your parents there."
The Germans needed to win to keep their medal hopes alive but now drop into the relegation round with Russia and Kazakhstan.
The victory means the Canucks (2-0) advance to the medal round against the other two first-place teams in their respective pools -- the U.S. and Finland. After all teams enjoy today off, Canada will take on their archrival Americans at the MTS Centre tomorrow at 3:30 p.m.
"The Germans played very well," Davidson said. "It was a terrific game for us to have to play in terms of battling and sticking to some plans ... It was a perfect game for us to play and I was happy with what we did.
"You definitely have to step it up now and the focus should be elevated a bit."
Forward Jennifer Botterill, with two, Gina Kingsbury, Kate Weatherston and Danielle Goyette scored Canada's other goals.
"The crowd had so much energy and everyone on our team just feeds off that, and that was pretty amazing," said Botterill, a Winnipeg native. "It's fun for everyone to play in an environment like that and it makes me pretty proud of my city."
Sweden, Switzerland and China finished second in their respective pools and will start a round robin against each other.
NOTES: Both Goyette and Jayna Hefford were honoured alongside Wickenheiser ... The gold medal match has now been sold out ... (Saturday's game is 1,500 short of sellout)