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Botterill hits career mark in Canada's 11-0 win over China in women's hockey

NHL.com @NHL

HARBIN, China - Jennifer Botterill reached her second career milestone in as many games with the Canadian women's hockey team in Canada's 11-0 win over China on Sunday at the world championship.

The 28-year-old from Winnipeg scored two goals and added two assists to surge past the 150-point mark just two days after appearing in her 150th game for the national team.

Botterill has played for Canada for a decade and in three Olympic Games and six world championships during that span.

Only three other players in the history of the national team - Hayley Wickenheiser, Danielle Goyette and Jayna Hefford - have reached both the 150-game and 150-point benchmark.

"That's such a credit to the people I play with," Botterill said. "I had a lot of fun playing tonight with Jayna and Caroline (Ouellette) and I think we've been fortunate enough to play together over the last few years.

"We usually don't know about these things and the team tells us after. It's really special and fun to share with our teammates when you hear about it, but it's not what our team is about and that's kind of neat. For us, being at this tournament, it's always about bringing the best team game we can."

Botterill picked assisting on Hefford's and Ouellette's goals in the gold-medal game at the 2006 Olympics as her favourite points among her now 153 (57 goals and 96 assists).

Wickenheiser, Canada's all-time leader in games played and points, also scored twice and had a pair of assists Sunday.

Cherie Piper contributed a goal and three assists in the win, which sealed first place in Pool A for Canada.

Piper left the game late in the third period after knee-on-knee contact with a Chinese player and was on crutches after it.

It was the same knee she'd torn ligaments in last year, but the Toronto forward said the crutches made it look worse than it was. She expects to play Wednesday against Finland.

"There's nothing to be very stressed about," Piper said. "We've got a couple days off, it'll get lots of treatment and it should be fine."

Canada also got goals from Ouellette, Hefford, Carla MacLeod, Gillian Apps, Meghan Agosta and Sarah Vaillancourt in front of an announced crowd of 1,892 at Baqu Arena.

The official scoresheet gave Charline Labonte a five-shot shutout, but the 26-year-old from Boisbriand, Que., said she faced eight or nine shots.

"I want to give myself more credit than that," she said with a smile.

Canada, the U.S. and Finland finished the preliminary round first in their respective pools with 2-0 records.

The U.S. clinched Pool B with a 7-1 win over Switzerland and Finland beat Sweden 3-2 in overtime to take Pool C.

So Canada, the U.S. and Finland play each other in the next round and the teams with the two best records meet again for the gold medal Saturday.

Canada has a two-day break from games and meets Finland on Wednesday and the U.S. on Thursday.

The third-place team plays for bronze against the winner of the runners-up round between Sweden, Russia and Switzerland, who were all 1-1.

Germany, China and Japan, all 0-2, fall to the relegation round. The country that ends up last in the tournament drops to the second-division world championship in 2009.

Canada beat China by the same score the last time the two countries met, which was at the 2004 world championship in Halifax.

"They were better than they were in 2004, but we're better too," Canadian head coach Peter Smith said.

China's most important game of the tournament was the previous evening against Russia. The Chinese wanted the win to secure a berth in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, but lost 5-3.

They can't finish higher than seventh here and needed to be in the top six.

"We'd been looking forward to that game all year. It was an emotional letdown for us," Chinese head coach Steve Carlyle said. "This was an opportunity to play the best team in the world and learn. We still have a long way to go.

"Team Canada respected us by battling hard through the entire game."

China will have another chance to qualify for the Olympics next season.

The country has less than 150 registered female players compared to over 70,000 in Canada.

"What needs to happen is China needs to get more athletes playing hockey," said Carlyle, who is from Bentley, Alta.

The Canadians have superior footspeed and puck support. Rarely did they have to set up defensive coverage in their own zone Sunday.

"We have to establish good habits and we can't be letting bad habits creep in and then they bite us in the later rounds," Smith said.

The Chinese mustered the odd foray into Canada's end, but spent most of the game trying to hold off Canada's attack.

Chinese goaltender Yao Shi, who played for the Western Women's Hockey League's Calgary Oval X-Treme this winter, stopped 28 of 37 shots. She was replaced early in the third period by Dandan Jia, who allowed two goals on nine shots.

Every game is a tryout to start in the next game for Canada's goaltenders and it was difficult to assess Labonte's performance when she faced so few shots.

Kim St. Pierre stopped 10 of 11 in Canada's 8-1 win over Russia to open the tournament.

"It's hard for us because you can't really show your skills," Labonte said. "In practice, you have to be consistent because that's what (the coaches) are looking for."

Notes: Russia and Switzerland qualified for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver as neither can finish lower than sixth at this world championship. They'll join Canada, the U.S., Finland and Sweden in the Olympic tournament . . . Canada is 12-0 all-time against China.

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