Friday featured a light schedule for women's hockey at the 2022 Olympics with just two games.
China and the Russian Olympic Committee began their quest for gold in Beijing with victories. Both teams scored three unanswered goals to pull away in their respective wins.
Polina Bolgareva finished with a hat trick in the Russian Olympic Committee's 5-2 victory over Switzerland.
China 3, Denmark 1
Russian Olympic Committee 5, Switzerland 2
Group A Standings (Goal Differential)
1. Canada 1-0-0-0, 3 points (plus-12)
2. United States 1-0-0-0, 3 points (plus-3)
3. Russian Olympic Committee 1-0-0-0, 3 points (plus-3)
4. Finland 0-0-0-1, 0 points (minus-3)
5. Switzerland 0-0-0-2, 0 points (minus-14)
Group B Standings (Goal Differential)
1. Czech Republic 1-0-0-0, 3 points (plus-2)
2. Japan 1-0-0-0, 3 points (plus-2)
3. China 1-0-0-1, 3 points (Zero)
4. Sweden 0-0-0-1, 0 points (minus-2)
5. Denmark 0-0-0-1, 0 points (minus-2)
China and Denmark played a thriller in the first game on Friday. Malene Frandsen made history when she scored the first Olympic goal for the Danish women's team in the first period to give her squad a 1-0 lead.
Denmark was able to maintain its advantage until late in the second period. Yu Baiwei and Wang Yuting assisted Lin Qiqi to get China on the board.
The game looked like it was headed for overtime with the score tied 1-1 in the final minute of regulation. Qiqi took over at that point, though, first by setting up Lin Ni on the go-ahead goal with 50.9 seconds left to play.
After Denmark pulled goalie Cassandra Repstock-Romme to get an extra skater on the ice, Qiqi sealed the win with an empty-net goal with 32 seconds left to play.
The win marked China's first women's hockey victory at the Olympics since Feb. 12, 1998. This is the country's first appearance at the Winter Games since finishing seventh overall in 2010.
Denmark has a quick turnaround for its next game against Japan on Saturday at 3:40 a.m. ET. China will square off with Japan on Sunday at 3:40 a.m. ET.
Things weren't quite as dramatic in the Russian Olympic Committee's 5-2 win over Switzerland, though it did feature its own type of excitement.
Yekaterina Dobrodeyeva put the Russians ahead 1-0 less than six minutes into the first period.
A penalty on Yelena Dergachyova gave Switzerland a power-play opportunity late in the first period, though, and Lara Stalder took advantage of it with a game-tying goal with 2:44 remaining before the first intermission.
The good vibes didn't last long for Switzerland, as Bolgareva put the Russian Olympic Committee back on top 13 seconds after Stalder's goal.
The Swiss team got back into the game on Alina Muller's shorthanded marker in the second period. The Russian Olympic Committee kicked things into gear from that point, starting with Anna Shibanova's go-ahead goal with 9:30 remaining in the second period.
Bolgareva scored two goals in less than five minutes of game time between the end of the second period and start of the third period to put the Russian Olympic Committee ahead 5-2.
"It was a really hard game for us because we didn’t have practice a lot of times," Bolgareva told reporters after the win. "I’m really happy. It’s my first Olympics. My teammates did it all for me. They gave me perfect passes."
Maria Sorokina stopped 28 of 30 shots in goal for the Russian Olympic Committee. Swiss counterpart Andrea Braendli fared much better in this game than she did in the opener, when Canada scored 12 goals on 70 shots. The 24-year-old stopped 26 of 31 attempts in Friday's loss.
The Russian Olympic Committee has a huge test against Team USA on Saturday at 8:10 a.m. ET. Switzerland's next game will also be against the Americans on Sunday at 8:10 a.m. ET.