Canada remained unbeaten at the 2012 4 Nations Cup on Wednesday after a 3-1 win over the archrival Americans at Valtti Areena.
American Hilary Knight opened the scoring early in the second period, but Marie-Philip Poulin and Gillian Apps scored 35 seconds apart for a lead Canada wouldn’t relinquish. Hayley Wickenheiser added an insurance goal as Canada improved to 2-0 at the four-team tournament.
“These are the games we want to play in,” Apps said. “I think if you ask anyone on the American team or the Canadian team, it’s an amazing rivalry. We know they’re fast and so talented. We have to be prepared for that and play physical and play our game. They’re fun games to play in, just to battle it out for the full 60 minutes.
“Obviously it’s always nice to come out with a win, but we’re far from done our work here. We’re just going to keep moving forward,” she said.
The Canadians will enjoy an off-day Thursday before closing round-robin play Friday against Sweden. The medal games are scheduled for Saturday.
The Americans beat Canada 4-3 in a shootout in last year’s final in Sweden.
The Canadians opened the 2012 tournament with a 6-0 rout of Finland on Tuesday and were confident heading into their matchup with the American side.
“I think we did a really good job in our one-on-one battles and our urgency to race to loose pucks,” Canada’s National Women’s Team head coach Dan Church said. “Just our battle mentality along the wall, in the corners and in front of the net, it was a big difference over the course of the game.
“I think it really led to a lot of our goals and ultimately the win,” he said.
Host Finland played Sweden later Wednesday. Canada improved to 26-7-1 against the United States at this tournament.
Canada last won the Four Nations Cup in 2010, defeating the Americans 3-2 in overtime in St. John’s, N.L.. Canada has won this event 12 times over its 16-year history.
The tournament also serves as an evaluation opportunity for team brass ahead of the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Ottawa this April.
The Canadian roster includes almost all the players from the team that won gold at the 2012 world championship last spring in Burlington, Vt. Canada beat the Americans 5-4 in overtime.
IHLC: With the win, Canada retains the International Hockey Lineal Championship it captured from the U.S. at the World Championships, and defended in consecutive wins over Finland. This was the 108th meeting for the IHLC between Canada and the U.S.’ women’s teams in history. Canada, in their 27th reign as IHLC champions, next faces Sweden on November 9, with a trip to the Gold Medal Game (and the IHLC) on the line.
00:20 – PEN – Hefford, cross checking
05:14 – PEN – Decker, cross checking
08:22 – PEN – Stack, hooking
09:32 – PEN – Poulin, tripping
10:07 – PEN – Kessel, slashing
14:16 – PEN – Stack, tripping
25:23 – GOAL – Knight (Coyne)
26:25 – PEN – Erickson, slashing
32:29 – PEN – Erickson, slashing
36:45 – GOAL – Poulin (Hefford, Ouellette)
37:20 – GOAL – Apps (Wickenheiser)
46:52 – PEN – Chu, tripping
51:10 – PEN – Stack, cross checking
56:38 – GOAL – Wickenheiser (Apps, Spooner)
59:08 – PEN – Hefford, hooking
W: Labonté (33-34)
L: Schaus (51-54)
SHOTS ON GOAL
15+26+13 = 54
12+12+10 = 34
Goaltenders: Charline Labonté, Geneviéve Lacasse, Shannon Szabados. Defence: Courtney Birchard, Tessa Bonhomme, Jocelyne Larocque, Meaghan Mikkelson, Bobbi Jo Slusar, Catherine Ward, Tara Watchorn. Forwards: Meghan Agosta, Gillian Apps, Vicki Bendus, Bailey Bram, Jayna Hefford, Haley Irwin, Brianne Jenner, Rebecca Johnston, Caroline Ouellette, Marie-Philip Poulin, Natalie Spooner, Jennifer Wakefield, Hayley Wickenheiser.
Goaltenders: Alex Rigsby, Molly Schaus, Jessie Vetter. Defence: Kacey Bellamy, Megan Bozek, Lisa Chesson, Jincy Dunne, Milica McMillen, Michelle Picard, Anne Schleper. Forwards: Julie Chu, Kendall Coyne, Brianna Decker, Meghan Duggan, Sarah Erickson, Lyndsay Fry, Amanda Kessel, Hilary Knight, Jocelyne Lamoureux, Monique Lamoureux, Paige Savage, Kelli Stack, Karen Thatcher.