American forward Brianna Decker had a three point night Wednesday in St. John’s, scoring once and assisting twice to help the United States to a 4-0 win over Finland and the top spot in 4 Nations Cup standings.
The highly skilled players on the American squad were unrelenting from start to finish. Although Finland won the opening face off and kept pace with the Americans for the first part of the period, it didn’t take long for the Americans to kick into high gear, spending the rest of the period in the offensive zone.
Jocelyne Lamoureux struck first for the Americans on a feed from Haley Skarupa and Erika Lawler. Decker scored an unassisted goal at 14:59 to put the Americans up by two. American Anne Schleper served a delay of game penalty that gave Finland a chance to get on the scoreboard, but the chance was short lived. Finland applied pressure in the final minute of the period, but even with a few good chances, they fell short of putting the puck past Team U.S.A. goaltender Molly Schaus.
Meghan Duggan owned the second period for the United States. She scored twice to widen the gap to what would be the final score of the game, with her first goal coming at 3:24 on a pass from Brianna Decker. Duggan’s second of the night came at 10:58, with Hilary Knight and Brianna Decker feeding her when Finland gave it away in their zone.
The Americans continued their offensive push into the second, but Finnish goaltender Maija Hassinen made some superb saves to hold off a series of quick rushes and amazing play-making by the Americans.
It wasn’t much different in the third period, as the United States crashed Finland’s net throughout the third. But Hassinen was determined to deny everything despite being faced with crisp offensive passes and quick shots on net from the Americans. Finland made a gallant offensive effort in the dying seconds of the game, but Schaus made a timely save to keep her shutout intact. Schaus faced 21 shots verus Hassinen’s 40.
Brianna Decker received player of the game honours for the United States, while Rosa Lindstedt was honoured for Finland.
IHLC: With the win, Team USA retains the International Hockey Lineal Championship it won a day earlier from Canada in a 3-2 shootout win, their 21st IHLC title. This was the first IHLC title game between the U.S. and Finland since the 2009 Hockey Canada Cup in Vancouver, where the U.S. also won 4-0 to retain the IHLC. The Americans next face Sweden in their Preliminary Round finale, with a trip to the Gold Medal Game, and the IHLC up for grabs.
04:08 – GOAL – J. Lamoureux (Skarupa, Lawler)
11:26 – PEN – Schleper, delay of game
14:59 – GOAL – Decker
23:24 – GOAL – Duggan (Decker)
30:58 – GOAL – Duggan (Knight, Decker)
31:20 – PEN – Tuomanen, holding
36:23 – PEN – Duggan, holding
55:02 – PEN – Pucci, body checking
W: Schaus (21-21)
L: Hassinen (36-40)
SHOTS ON GOAL
15+16+9 = 40
5+10+6 = 21
Goaltenders: Molly Schaus, Jessie Vetter. Defence: Kacey Bellamy, Caitlin Cahow, Molly Engstrom, Meagan Mangene, Michelle Picard, Josephine Pucci, Anne Schleper. Forwards: Julie Chu, Kendall Coyne, Brianna Decker, Meghan Duggan, Sarah Erickson, Amanda Kessel, Hilary Knight, Jocelyne Lamoureux, Monique Lamoureux, Erika Lawler, Jenny Schmidgall, Haley Skarupa, Allie Thunstrom, Jinelle Zaugg.
Goaltenders: Maija Hassinen, Noora Räty, Anna Vanhatalo. Defence: Essi Hallvar, Jenni Hiirikoski, Mira Jalosuo, Rosa Lindstedt, Mariia Posa, Suvi Vacker, Tea Villilä. Forwards: Michelle Karvinen, Emmi Leinonen, Pia Lund, Niina Mäkinen, Tanja Niskanen, Annina Rajahuhta, Karoliina Rantamäki, Anne Tuomanen, Minnamari Tuominen, Saara Tuominen, Linda Välimäki.
Article Credit: Hockey Canada