Charline Labonté couldn’t have asked for a better homecoming.
The Boisbriand, Que., native got the start in net in front of her hometown Thursday night at the Centre d’Excellence Sports Rousseau, where Canada’s National Women’s Team defeated the United States 6-3 in pre-Olympic action.
“It’s incredible,” Labonté said. “I couldn’t have asked for more. To bring the Canadian team here against the Americans, I knew people would answer the call. We immediately felt their support.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything better. It was worthy of Boisbriand.”
Labonté allowed three goals on 27 shots on the night.
The game was the second of six encounters between the teams before the start of the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, in February.
The Canadians took the first game last Saturday, Oct. 12 in Burlington, Vt., 3-2. The game ended in a small brawl, when a U.S. player ran into Canadian goaltender Shannon Szabados late in the third period.
Veteran captain Hayley Wickenheiser, who’s been a member of Canada’s National Women’s Team since 1994 when she was only 15 years old, scored two goals on the night.
Wickenheiser believed her team responded well to early pressure by the Americans.
“We came out really strong and we had a great start and a lot of energy,” Wickenheiser said. “They tried to take some physical liberties early on and they got away with a few things early in the game. But then we came back and we just played a pretty physical game.”
Canada’s head coach Dan Church called Wickenheiser “one of our leaders,” on and off the ice.
Rebecca Johnston who also put two up on the board, opened the high-scoring affair with her first goal of this exhibition series at 8:59 of the first period.
Haley Irwin started the play, patiently holding the puck for several seconds in the American zone before firing on net. Johnston jumped on the rebound.
“I was at the right place at the right time,” Johnston said. “It kind of popped out right at me and I just shot it quickly.”
Wickenheiser doubled the Canadians’ lead less than a minute later, while her team was playing short-handed.
Brianna Decker got one back for the Americans before Wickenheiser put her second of the game past a helpless Jessie Vetter on a 5-on-3 power play.
Johnston scored her second marker, the eventual game-winner, early in the second period. She was behind the net when it happened, banking a pass off a defender’s skate and into the net.
Caroline Ouellette also scored midway through the second period to put the Canadians up 5-1.
Jocelyne Lamoureux and Kendall Coyne scored consolation goals for the U.S., before Jayna Hefford notched a back-handed goal that quelled any attempt at a comeback at 15:47 of the third period.
Vetter, who started in net for the Americans, made 10 saves in the first period. She was replaced by Molly Schaus, who stopped seven of 10 shots she faced. The United States out-shot Canada 24-23 overall.
Canada is the three-time defending Olympic champion. Two of those victories, in 2002 and 2010, came against the Americans. Canada and the U.S. face off again in pre-Olympic action Dec. 12 in Calgary, Alta., where the women in red and white are currently based for the 2013-14 season, at Hockey Canada’s home arena the Markin MacPhail Centre, located within WinSport Canada Atlhetic & Ice Complex facilities in Canada Olympic Park.
05:02 – PEN – Fortino, body checking
08:59 – GOAL – Johnston (Irwin)
09:42 – PEN – Bram, slashing
09:53 – SH GOAL – Wickenheiser (Ouellette, Larocque)
10:32 – PP GOAL – Decker (Dunne, Bozek)
17:11 – PEN – Duggan, roughing
17:29 – PEN – Bozek, cross checking
18:38 – PP2 GOAL – Wickenheiser (Hefford, Larocque)
20:53 – GOAL – Johnston
24:45 – PEN – Daoust, tripping
27:31 – PEN – Wakefield, interference
30:29 – PEN – Wickenheiser, tripping
32:15 – SH GOAL – Ouellette
33:07 – PEN – Wakefield, tripping
37:13 – PEN – Irwin, roughing
39:00 – PP GOAL – J. Lamoureux (Coyne, Bellamy)
39:52 – PEN – J. Lamoureux, delay of game
42:04 – PEN – Chesson, tripping
43:36 – PEN – team, too many players
49:51 – PEN – Coyne, holding
53:49 – PEN – Lacquette, cross checking
55:19 – PP GOAL – Coyne (Pankowski, Bellamy)
55:44 – GOAL – Hefford
W: Labonté (26-27)
L: Vetter (10-13), Schaus (13-16)
SHOTS ON GOAL
13+7+9 = 29
8+7+12 = 27
Goaltenders: Charline Labonté, Geneviève Lacasse, Shannon Szabados. Defence: Courtney Birchard, Tessa Bonhomme, Laura Fortino, Brigette Lacquette, Jocelyne Larocque, Meaghan Mikkelson, Lauriane Rougeau, Catherine Ward, Tara Watchorn. Forwards: Meghan Agosta, Gillian Apps, Vicki Bendus, Bailey Bram, Mélodie Daoust, Jayna Hefford (A), Haley Irwin, Brianne Jenner, Rebecca Johnston, Jenelle Kohanchuk, Caroline Ouellette (C), Natalie Spooner, Jennifer Wakefield, Hayley Wickenheiser (A).
Goaltenders: Brianne McLaughlin, Molly Schaus, Jessie Vetter. Defence: Kacey Bellamy, Megan Bozek, Lisa Chesson, Jincy Dunne, Gigi Marvin, Michelle Picard, Josephine Pucci, Anne Schleper, Lee Stecklein. Forwards: Kate Buesser, Alex Carpenter, Julie Chu, Kendall Coyne, Brianna Decker, Meghan Duggan (C), Lyndsay Fry, Amanda Kessel, Hilary Knight, Jocelyne Lamoureux, Monique Lamoureux, Annie Pankowski, Kelli Stack.
|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 3-2 USA – 10/12/2013 – EX – Burlington
|Last IHLC Game
CAN 3-2 USA – 10/12/2013 – EX – Burlington
|Next IHLC Game
CAN 3-1 FIN – 11/05/2013 – FNC – Lake Placid