The United States, in front of over 17,000 cheering Canadians at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, won its fourth consecutive pre-Olympic exhibition game over Team Canada, ensuring they will head to the Sochi Olympics with the International Hockey Lineal Championship in tow.
Following a shootout loss in Saint Paul, Minnesota two nights earlier, Team Canada was looking to end the exhibition series on a high note, in front of a home crowd – instead, more of the same careful defensive play dominated the first period, with shots 10-9 in favour of Canada after one. Things opened up for Team USA in the second, with a Hilary Knight deflection in front of Geneviève Lacasse putting the U.S. ahead 1-0. Less than one minute later, with the U.S. on a power play, a Canadian defensive miscue left Kelli Stack alone in front of Lacasse to knock in a Jennifer Carpenter pass to put the U.S. up 2-0 in under a minute.
The U.S. continued the onslaught towards the end of the second, with a Megan Bozek point shot on the power play blasting past Lacasse to stun the pro-Canadian crowd, putting the U.S. in the driver’s seat at 3-0. Natalie Spooner did convert on a breakaway goal with time winding down in the second, leaving things at 3-1 after forty minutes. Brianne Jenner scored on a shorthanded rebound off of Molly Schaus in the third, but the U.S. killed off two critical power plays and held Canada to only nine third period shots for the 3-2 final.
With the victory, Team USA caps off four consecutive victories over Team Canada in eighteen days, ending the exhibition series with a record of 5-1, going 4-0 in the month of December. This win, the 118th meeting between these rivals over the IHLC, ensures that the Americans will enter the Sochi Olympics as International Hockey Lineal Champions, their 27th title that they won from Canada in the first December exhibition game on the 12th in Calgary. The U.S. opens their Olympic schedule against Finland on February 8.
05:33 – PEN – Ward, tripping
12:25 – PEN – Duggan, roughing
13:38 – PEN – Knight, tripping
16:22 – PEN – Poulin, body checking
20:23 – PEN – Duggan, charging
22:32 – GOAL – Knight (Stack, Duggan)
23:11 – PEN – Jenner, hooking
23:23 – PP GOAL – Stack (Carpenter)
23:47 – PEN – Watchorn, body checking
28:01 – PEN – Larocque, cross checking
31:11 – PEN – Schleper, body checking
34:40 – PEN – Agosta, tripping
36:50 – PEN – Wickenheiser, holding
36:54 – PP GOAL – Bozek (Stack)
39:26 – GOAL – Spooner (Irwin)
41:13 – PEN – Agosta, hooking
41:57 – SH GOAL – Jenner (Ouellette)
47:52 – PEN – Bozek, hooking
55:35 – PEN – team, too many players
W: Schaus (25-27)
L: Lacasse (27-30)
SHOTS ON GOAL
9+16+10 = 30
10+8+9 = 27
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.
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).