Eight months after battling each other for an Olympic Gold in Sochi, Canada and the U.S. faced off in the preliminary round of the 4 Nations Cup. This was the first meeting between these two teams since the Olympics, and not much has changed: They do not like each other.
Both teams entered the game 1-0 on the tournament: Canada beat Sweden 2-0 and the U.S. beat Finland 5-0.
Forward Dani Cameranesi opened the scoring for the U.S. at 2:08 into the first period. Off the draw, Canada found themselves scrambling in front of the net. The defence was unable to clear the zone, and Cameranesi slid the puck past Geneviève Lacasse to make it 1-0 for Team USA.
It didn't take long for Canada to even things up. After Kendall Coyne took a slashing penalty at 8:51, Canada was on the man advantage. Rebecca Johnston scored a power-play goal just over a minute later, putting Canada on the board and tying the game at 1-1.
Canada was then able to kill off a high-sticking penalty (Jennifer Wakefield) late in the period. After the first 20 minutes, the game remained tied 1-1, with the U.S. out-shooting Canada 12-5. Team USA dominated the play for the majority of the first period. Canada was caught chasing multiple times, and looked a little disorganized in comparison to their American counterparts.
Team USA started the second period off strong. Canada's Jocelyne Larocque went to the penalty box for tripping at 3:47. Shortly after, Shiann Darkangelo scored a power-play goal, making it 2-1 USA. While the initial shot did not go in, Lacasse gave up a big rebound, and Darkangelo capitalized on this opportunity to give her team the lead.
Momentum began to shift in favour of Canada when they went on the power play just over six minutes into the period. Rebecca Johnston came close to tying things up after going end to end and crashing the U.S. net, coming up just short of a power-play goal.
From then on, Canada was able to sustain some pressure on the U.S., and spend more time in the offensive zone, in comparison to the first period. A couple of U.S. penalties from Monique Lamoureux and Annie Pankowski, respectively, kept Canada on the man advantage for almost the full remainder of the period.
Despite a very nice drop pass from Natalie Spooner to Jennifer Wakefield late in the period, Canada was not able to score on U.S. goalie Alex Rigsby. At the end of the second period, the U.S. remained on top at 2-1. Shots evened up at 16-16, with Team Canada out-shooting Team USA 11-4 in this period alone.
Canada started the third period off on the power play, as a U.S. penalty carried over from the second. Unfortunately, it wouldn't help Canada tie the game, and they were unable to capitalize on this opportunity.
The U.S. retained the shot advantage in the third, but Lacasse kept Canada in the game. She made some key saves against Team USA's strongest players. Dani Cameranesi had a chance to give the U.S. an insurance goal, as she quickly entered Canada's zone and wired a shot right into Lacasse's body armour. U.S. captain, Alex Carpenter had another great chance in the second half of the period, but suffered a similar fate at the hands of Geneviève Lacasse.
While it looked like this game could be over, things changed dramatically in the last five minutes of the period. Captain Haley Irwin scored for Canada off a beautiful pass from Jamie Lee Rattray to tie the game 2-2. Just over a minute later, Rebecca Johnston scored her second goal of the game to give Canada a 3-2 lead.
It seems that these two teams are destined for dramatic finishes, no matter what stage they're playing on. As the period was winding down, Jocelyne Larocque took a high-sticking penalty with 45 seconds remaining. Team USA pulled their goalie on the power play, giving themselves a 6-4 player advantage. The U.S. came within centimeters of tying things up, when they hit a goal post in the final seconds (sound familiar?). Despite a last-second delay-of-game penalty, Team Canada was able to hold on for the win, and take the first rematch 3-2.
Game over! Canada wins 3-2 over the United States. Game stats: http://t.co/S7VKMV9rKC— Team Canada Women (@HC_Women) November 6, 2014
Next up, Canada will face Finland on Friday at 10 p.m. EST. The U.S. will play Sweden on the same day at 4 p.m. EST. Both games can be seen on TSN. Stay tuned to Silver Seven for more 4 Nations Cup coverage as the tournament continues into the weekend.