Canada won a tight battle against their perennial cross-border rivals in their final tune-up before the Vancouver Olympics, edging the U.S. 3-2 in a shootout in the nation’s capital to retain the International Hockey Lineal Championship.
Sarah Vaillancourt opened the scoring for Canada early in the first, beating U.S. goalie Jessie Vetter to open the scoring. However, the U.S. answered back with a Jenny Schmidgall strike that beat Kim St-Pierre just over two minutes later, putting things at 1-1 after twenty minutes. The second period remained scoreless, with Vetter stopping all 7 shots, while St-Pierre was pulled midway through the period for Charline Labonté to take over.
Meghan Agosta put Canada back ahead five minutes into the third, on a feed from Caroline Ouellette that put Canada on top 2-1 for the majority of the third. However, as is the trend among Canada-USA women’s hockey games, anything can happen, as was the case in Ottawa, as Julie Chu tied things up with just 18 seconds left in regulation, capitalizing on a Cherie Piper penalty and Vetter on the bench for a 6-on-4 advantage, sending the game to overtime. The extra frame would solve nothing, leaving the shootout heroics up to Jayna Hefford, showing flashes of her 2002 Gold Medal Game winner to send Canada to their next Olympics on a winning note, winning the game with a final score of 3-2.
With the shootout win, Canada retains the International Hockey Lineal Championship, their 22nd, that they won in the Four Nations Cup Gold Medal Game, and defended against the U.S. with exhibition victories in Denver, Calgary and Saint Paul throughout December. This game marks the 94th IHLC matchup between Canada and the United States, and last since the aforementioned game in Saint Paul on December 30, a 2-1 Canada victory. This was also the first IHLC matchup in Ottawa in almost ten years, since the 2001 TSN Challenge that the U.S. won over Canada 5-2. The win was the final exhibition game before the Vancouver Olympics, which Canada will open against Slovakia on February 13 with the IHLC in tow.
02:00 – PEN – team, too many players
05:18 – GOAL – Vaillancourt
07:57 – GOAL – Schmidgall (Knight, M. Lamoureux)
25:18 – PEN – Poulin, roughing
31:21 – PEN – Apps, roughing
32:00 – PEN – Ruggiero, slashing
33:40 – PEN – Hefford, slashing
45:07 – GOAL – Agosta (Ouellette)
55:30 – PEN – M. Lamoureux, body checking
58:58 – PEN – Piper, high sticking
59:42 – EA PP GOAL – Chu (Darwitz, Schmidgall)
W: St-Pierre (11-13), Labonté (17-18)
L: Vetter (26-29)
SHOTS ON GOAL
9+7+10+2+1 = 29
11+8+10+2+0 = 31
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.