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U.S. Women Win World Championship Opener

March 30, 2004

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) _ Natalie Darwitz scored three goals to help the United States open the women’s world hockey championships with a 9-1 victory over Switzerland on Tuesday.

Jenny Potter added two goals, and Kelly Stephens, Angela Ruggiero, Tricia Dunn and Shelley Looney also scored for the United States in the Pool B game. Daniela Diaz scored for Switzerland.

Darwitz, Stephens, Ruggiero, Krissy Wendell and Julie Chu joined the U.S. team on Monday after playing in the NCAA Frozen Four. Darwitz had a hat trick Sunday to lead Minnesota to a 6-2 victory over Harvard in the final.

``Having to leave your teammates when they’re going back home to celebrate is tough, but how many people get to play in a world championship for your country?″ Darwitz said.

The United States, second to Canada in all seven previous world championships, outshot Switzerland 50-10.

American captain Cammi Granato injured her knee in a collision with Darwitz in the first period and did not return to the game.

``She banged her knee and she’s already being treated by our medical staff,″ U.S. coach Ben Smith said. ``We’re going to see how she does tonight.″

In late games Tuesday, Canada faced China in Pool A, and Sweden met Japan in a Pool C game in Dartmouth.

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