Even though the talent gap in women's hockey remains wider than the Grand Canyon, more than a few players in the upper echelon love it.
Pernilla Winberg sure does. The forward scored two goals and added an assist yesterday afternoon as Sweden routed China 12-2 in consolation group action at MTS Centre.
Winberg said she never tires of beating up on the likes of China, Kazakhstan and Germany.
"No, it's always fun to score and get points for the team," Winberg said. "I love to score."
That's what Sweden did -- and did often -- before an announced crowd of 3,500 fans. Most of the thousand or so who actually showed up cheered loudly when China's Rui Sang and Sun Rui beat Swedish backup netminder Sara Grahn.
Unfortunately for the Chinese, however, they will continue to get that underdog support for years to come, according to Swedish coach Peter Elander.
And that is not a good thing.
"You need more players, but on the other hand you need to have a perspective of where you are in the world," Elander said. "(Canada coach) Melody (Davidson) didn't want a 10th team (in the tournament), but Japan has beaten China several times this year. Japan is a better hockey club than China.
"And also they have to educate coaches. The coaching they have is good, but this is the fourth season I've played China and they have a new coach from a new country every year. So the consistency is a little lacking there."
China, which beat Kazakhstan in the preliminary round, was 0-2 in the consolation round and will officially finish sixth this week. It will host the WWHC next spring but with its fifth coach in five years.
Sweden and Switzerland are both 1-0 in the consolation group, and they will meet today at 4 p.m. at MTS Centre for the right to play in tomorrow's bronze-medal game against either Finland or Canada.