Special teams are often the difference between a win and a loss, which is why Caroline Ouellette never takes a power-play opportunity for granted. On Friday night, she had multiple reasons to be thankful.
Ouellette scored two power-play goals and Canada killed eight of nine penalties as the Canadians topped the United States for the second time in as many weeks with a 5-2 victory.
“We got the opportunities and fortunately we were able to create good chances out of it,” said Ouellette, a Montreal native. “I think the effort to put us on the power play was huge, and we’ve been working a lot on special teams in the last month and I think that made the difference tonight.”
The Canadians and Americans will meet at least five more times before the puck drops at the Vancouver Olympics. Canada is 2-0 in exhibition play against the U.S., as the Canadians also won 3-1 on Oct. 5 in Victoria.
“I love it – I wish we could play each other every week,” Ouellette said. “They are the best games, and it’s the best rivalry – we know each other so well. It’s great for women’s hockey and it’s great to get ready (for the Olympics).”
Meghan Agosta put Canada on the board at 17:47 into the opening period when she popped in the rebound of teammate Cherie Piper’s shot.
Gigi Marvin tied the score with a power-play goal for the Americans at 19:06, but Canada retook the lead – which it never surrendered – when Haley Irwin scored at 19:35.
“We knew we had to come out better in the second, and create some opportunities,” Ouellette said.
Create is exactly what the Canadians proceeded to do.
Ouellette scored twice in the middle period, giving Canada a commanding 4-1 lead, with back-to-back power-play goals – first on a 5-on-3, and then again less than two minutes later at 6:14 while Canada had a one-man advantage.
“We knew we didn’t have a long time to score on the 5-on-3, we only had about 30 seconds,” said Ouellette. “Once we scored that goal, we didn’t want to let up we wanted to keep putting the puck on their goalie and make them stop us – which they didn’t, so it was good.”
Hayley Wickenheiser scored Canada’s final goal at 16:24 before Jenny Potter buried the Americans’ second and final goal at 18:35.
Shannon Szabados made 32 saves in net for Canada, while U.S. goalie Jessie Vetter stopped 36 of Canada’s 41 shots.
“I think it was a very good game for us, but we have a lot of games left to play so we can feel good about this one but not for long,” Ouellette added. “There are always things that we should be doing better, so we will move on from this game and hopefully play even better in our next game.”
The teams meet again in Denver, Colo., on Dec. 12 before the six-game exhibition series shifts to Canada for a Dec. 15 meeting in Calgary.
07:08 – PEN – Darwitz, hooking
07:48 – PEN – Weiland, roughing
07:48 – PEN – Agosta, roughing
09:27 – PEN – Ferrari, body checking
12:17 – PEN – J. Lamoureux, hooking
13:47 – PEN – Sostorics, body checking
17:47 – GOAL – Agosta (Piper)
18:58 – PEN – Ouellette, holding
19:06 – PP GOAL – Marvin (Darwitz, Knight)
19:35 – GOAL – Irwin (Johnston, Vaillancourt)
20:14 – PEN – Ferrari, tripping
22:50 – PEN – Agosta, roughing
22:50 – PEN – J. Lamoureux, roughing
22:50 – PEN – M. Lamoureux, cross checking
24:18 – PEN – Chesson, holding
24:38 – PP2 GOAL – Ouellette (Wickenheiser, Hefford)
26:14 – PP GOAL – Ouellette (Hefford, Vaillancourt)
28:05 – PEN – Wickenheiser, cross checking
29:36 – PEN – Hefford, roughing
36:24 – GOAL – Wickenheiser (Ward)
38:35 – GOAL – Schmidgall (Knight, Zaugg)
45:56 – PEN – Apps, hooking
53:37 – PEN – Apps, cross checking
57:19 – PEN – Chu, holding
59:44 – PEN – Botterill, hooking
W: Szabados (32-34)
L: Vetter (36-41)
SHOTS ON GOAL
17+13+11 = 41
12+13+9 = 34
Goaltenders: Charline Labonté, Kim St-Pierre, Shannon Szabados. Defence: Tessa Bonhomme, Becky Kellar, Carla MacLeod, Meaghan Mikkelson, Colleen Sostorics, Catherine Ward. Forwards: Meghan Agosta, Gillian Apps, Jennifer Botterill, Jayna Hefford (A), Haley Irwin, Rebecca Johnston, Gina Kingsbury, Caroline Ouellette (A), Cherie Piper, Marie-Philip Poulin, Sarah Vaillancourt, Hayley Wickenheiser (C).
Goaltenders: Brianne McLaughlin, Molly Schaus, Jessie Vetter. Defence: Kacey Bellamy, Caitlin Cahow, Lisa Chesson, Molly Engstrom, Angela Ruggiero, Kerry Weiland. Forwards: Julie Chu (A), Natalie Darwitz (C), Meghan Duggan, Hilary Knight, Jocelyne Lamoureux, Monique Lamoureux, Erika Lawler, Gigi Marvin, Jenny Schmidgall (A), Kelli Stack, Karen Thatcher, Jinelle Zaugg.
|CANADA (C)||vs.||UNITED STATES|
(+ 1 tie)
|First IHLC Meeting (CAN vs. USA)
CAN 2-1 USA – 04/21/1987 – WWT – North York
|Previous IHLC Meeting (CAN vs. USA)
CAN 3-1 USA – 10/05/2009 – EX – Victoria
|Last IHLC Game
CAN 3-1 USA – 10/05/2009 – EX – Victoria
|Next IHLC Game
CAN 4-2 SWE – 11/01/2009 – EX – Stockholm
Article Credit: Hockey Canada