DMITROV, Russia — Canada dropped a 3-2 decision to host Russia on Saturday in its opening game at the under-18 women's world hockey championship.
Oxana Bratisheva's power-play goal gave Russia a two-goal edge midway through the third period but Maggie MacEachern halved the lead a few minutes later. Goalie Diana Farkhutdinova and the Russian defence managed to hold off the late Canadian pressure for the victory.
"It was great to get on the ice together for the first game at worlds," said captain Sarah Fillier, who scored the other Canadian goal. "It's tough to lose, but we're definitely going to learn from it and we're excited to play tomorrow against Sweden."
Maria Alexandrova and Daria Beloglazova had the other goals for Russia. Farkhutdinova stopped 34 shots while Canadian netminder Madelyn McArthur made 11 saves.
In other games, the United States edged Sweden 2-1, Finland topped Germany 4-1 and the Czech Republic defeated Switzerland 4-3.
It was Canada's first loss to Russia in 10 all-time meetings.
"It is a historic moment for women's hockey and it is very good for women's hockey," said Canada coach Delaney Collins. "As a team we're definitely disappointed but we recognize it's good for the female game. It's not the start we wanted.
"We take a lot of learnings from today and we're going to continue and improve from that."
Preliminary-round play continues through Tuesday. The playoffs begin Wednesday and the medal games are scheduled for Jan. 13.
Canada has won gold on four occasions since the event's inception in 2008.
The Canadian Press