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Granato hat trick leads U.S.

New York Times news service

PROVO, Utah -- Center Cammi Granato played like a bull in a China closet Thursday when she recorded a hat trick in a 12-1 U.S. Olympic women's hockey team victory over the Chinese.

The U.S. team, the defending gold medalist, elevated its record to 2-0 with another blowout victory. This one came before a sellout crowd of 6,325 at the Peaks Arena.

The Americans have outscored Germany and China 22-1, and they have compiled a 128-18 advantage in shots on goal.

The U.S. team had 71 shots on goal to China's 10. Katie King and Laurie Baker followed Granato with two goals apiece as Team USA warmed up for what is expected to be a tougher game Saturday night against Finland.

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"We've seen Germany and China before the Olympics, so we were familiar with them, which helped us," said Julie Chu, who scored one of six second-period goals that allowed the U.S. team to blow open the game. "We haven't seen Finland for a while. We know they've got good players, and they're a much-improved team."

The U.S. team was hoping to get another shutout.

"Sure, we'd like to shut out every team if we could, but we know that's not reasonable," said King, who also had two assists. "When it happened, it's not like it was devastating.

"The important thing is that we played so well," King said. "Everyone likes to see the scoreboard light up, and when it does, it's contagious. We try to rush the net and keep shooting and rebounding and trying to put the puck in the net.

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