Canada opened a two-game exhibition series against Team USA at the University of Michigan with a definitive 3-1 victory, retaining the International Hockey Lineal Championship just a week before the 2011 World Championships.
In a game where both rosters were being trimmed in advance of the Worlds, both sides played a sharp first period, with shots at 9-8 for Canada, just one penalty for both sides, and Shannon Szabados and Brianne McLaughlin sharp for their squads.
Canada just needed 1:55 to break open the scoring in the second, however, beating McLaughlin short side to take the 1-0 lead. Meaghan Mikkelson struck again on an expiring penalty kill seven minutes later, and Jayna Hefford put things at 3-0 when she beat McLaughlin shorthanded misplaying the puck.
The Americans cut the deficit less than three minutes later, with team newcomer Jen Schoullis being sprung by Julie Chu on a breakaway to end Szabados’ shutout and end the period at 3-1. The third was much like the first, with shots at 6-4 for Canada, with a handful of penalties being the only line items, as Szabados backstopped Canada to the victory.
With the win, Canada retains their 23rd International Hockey Lineal Championship, which they won in the Gold Medal Game of the Four Nations Cup back in November. This was the 98th meeting between Canada and the Americans, their last being the aforementioned Gold Medal matchup, which Canada won 3-2 in overtime in St. John’s. These two lock horns again tomorrow, with the winner taking the IHLC across the pond to Switzerland for the World Championships.
12:33 – PEN – Steadman, body checking
21:55 – GOAL – Vaillancourt (Wickenheiser)
26:54 – PEN – Irwin, tripping
29:14 – GOAL – Mikkelson (Ward, Vaillancourt)
31:48 – PEN – Bonhomme, body checking
33:40 – SH GOAL – Hefford
36:39 – GOAL – Schoullis (Chu)
42:22 – PEN – Thatcher, high sticking
47:03 – PEN – Ruggiero, roughing
47:03 – PEN – Wakefield, slashing
48:55 – PEN – Engstrom, tripping
59:26 – PEN – Slusar, tripping
W: Szabados (17-18)
L: McLaughlin (18-21)
SHOTS ON GOAL
9+6+6 = 21
8+6+4 = 18
Goaltenders: Charline Labonté, Kim St-Pierre, Shannon Szabados. Defence: Tessa Bonhomme, Jocelyne Larocque, Meaghan Mikkelson, Bobbi Jo Slusar, Catherine Ward, Tara Watchorn. Forwards: Meghan Agosta, Gillian Apps, Jayna Hefford, Haley Irwin, Rebecca Johnston, Caroline Ouellette, Cherie Piper, Marie-Philip Poulin, Natalie Spooner, Sarah Vaillancourt, Jennifer Wakefield, Hayley Wickenheiser.
Goaltenders: Brianne McLaughlin, Molly Schaus, Jessie Vetter. Defence: Kacey Bellamy, Blake Bolden, Megan Bozek, Caitlin Cahow, Molly Engstrom, Michelle Picard, Josephine Pucci, Angela Ruggiero, Anne Schleper. Forwards: Hannah Brandt, Alex Carpenter, Julie Chu, Kendall Coyne, Brianna Decker, Meghan Duggan, Amanda Kessel, Hilary Knight, Jocelyne Lamoureux, Monique Lamoureux, Gigi Marvin, Amanda Pelkey, Jenny Schmidgall, Jen Schoullis, Kelli Stack, Kelley Steadman, Karen Thatcher, Taylor Wasylk.