ESPOO, Finland — Kendall Coyne Schofield scored a tournament-leading fifth goal Thursday to help the United States beat Japan 4-0 and advance to the semifinals of the women’s world championship.
Cayla Barnes had a goal and an assist and Hilary Knight and Dani Cameranesi also scored for the Americans, who have won the last four world titles and seven of the last eight.
Maddie Rooney had 10 saves for her second shutout of the tournament.
“It was a different game than we’re used to,” Knight said. “Japan showed up and they’re an extremely disciplined team. It’s fun to see how well they’ve done in this tournament and continue to do. But a win’s a win, and we got it.”
Japan reached the knockout round for the first time since it was instituted in 2011, while the U.S. was playing in their first quarterfinal after a change in the format meant that the top finisher in the preliminary rounds no longer receives a bye to the semifinals.
The Americans, who finished with 53 shots, took 22 of them in the first period and broke through when Knight scored on the rebound of Shelly Picard’s shot with 3:12 remaining.
Cameranesi scored the second goal on the power play with 10:38 left in the second period, barely beating Knight to the puck on a rebound in front of the crease. Barnes and Coyne Schofield, who extended her point streak to five games, finished off the scoring in the third.
“It was such a tough game, but a good challenge for us,” Japan captain Chiho Osawa said. “It was a very good experience for us because we (hadn’t played) against the USA for 10 years.”
The United States will play either Russia or Switzerland in the semifinals on Saturday.
Canada will face Germany and Finland plays Czech Republic in the other quarterfinal games later Thursday.