Rebecca Johnston scored a hat trick as Canada’s National Women’s Team erased a two-goal deficit to defeat the United States 5-3 in Game 1 of the December Series.
Jillian Saulnier and Natalie Spooner also scored in the win.
Brianne Jenner added two assists.
Shannon Szabados made 32 saves in picking up the win in relief. Ann-Renée Desbiens started in net for Canada, but was forced out of the crease only nine minutes into the game with an injury.
Canada trailed 3-2 after the second period, but two goals in 58 seconds to open the third turned the game in its favour.
Johnston put in a rebound at the side of the net 1:02 into the period, and Spooner scored with a wraparound at the two-minute mark.
If yet another Canadian comeback was one storyline, then the other was penalties. The teams were whistled for a combined 14 minors: 10 to the Canadians, four to the Americans.
Canada converted on its first power play chance, less than seven minutes into the game.
Halli Krzyzaniak controlled the puck behind her own net and sent a pass up along the boards. Johnston skated in on a partial break and scored five-hole.
Canada was then called for six straight penalties in the first, and the U.S. made it pay twice. Hilary Knight scored with a shot from just inside the point to tie the game. The U.S. then took the lead late in the period when Brianna Decker was left alone at the side of the net to put in a rebound.
The U.S. lead grew to two 5:20 into the second; Decker scored her second goal of the game, this one with a one-timer from the slot.
Saulnier started the comeback four minutes later. She picked the puck off in the left circle and went high glove side for the unassisted goal.
The United States fired 12 more shots on net in the final period, and had two more power play opportunities, but couldn’t tie the game.
Johnston completed her hat trick with an empty-net goal late in the third.
The United States outshot Canada 37-22. Alex Rigsby took the loss in net.
The Series now shifts to Sarnia, Ont., for Game 2. The teams will return to Plymouth at the end of March for the 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championship.
IHLC: With the win, Canada captures their 32nd International Hockey Lineal Championship, and first since November’s Four Nations Cup, ending the Americans’ incoming reign at just a single game. This game marked the 131st meeting all-time between Canada and Team USA over the IHLC, improving Canada’s record to 75-55-1 all-time, their last meeting being at the aforementioned Four Nations Cup, where the USA won their seventh Gold in a 5-3 win. These two will meet on the other side of the border in two days’ time, this time in Sarnia, Ontario, in their final matchup before next year’s World Championships, right back at the USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth starting March 31.
06:04 – PEN – Stack, cross checking
06:37 – PP GOAL – Johnston (Ambrose, Krzyzaniak)
08:04 – PEN – Mikkelson, interference
09:53 – PEN – Turnbull, slashing
11:29 – PP GOAL – Knight (M. Lamoureux, J. Lamoureux)
12:37 – PEN – team, too many players
14:52 – PEN – Krzyzaniak, delay of game
15:18 – PEN – Wakefield, cross checking
16:28 – PEN – Larocque, hooking
17:23 – PP2 GOAL – Decker (Knight, J. Lamoureux)
18:54 – PEN – Keller, interference
25:20 – GOAL – Decker (Knight, J. Lamoureux)
27:22 – PEN – Poulin, cross checking
29:52 – GOAL – Saulnier
32:40 – PEN – Rougeau, hooking
38:57 – PEN – Trivigno, interference
41:02 – GOAL – Johnston (Wakefield, Jenner)
42:00 – GOAL – Spooner (Mikkelson, Poulin)
52:36 – PEN – Saulnier, hooking
53:40 – PEN – Larocque, body checking
59:27 – EN GOAL – Johnston (Jenner)
59:48 – PEN – J. Lamoureux, roughing
W: Desbiens (18-18), Szabados (16-19)
L: Rigsby (17-21)
SHOTS ON GOAL
5+7+10 = 22
15+10+12 = 37
Goaltenders: Ann-Renée Desbiens, Shannon Szabados. Defence: Erin Ambrose, Micah Hart, Halli Krzyzaniak, Jocelyne Larocque, Meaghan Mikkelson, Lauriane Rougeau. Forwards: Meghan Agosta (A), Emily Clark, Haley Irwin (A), Brianne Jenner, Rebecca Johnston, Amy Potomak, Sarah Potomak, Marie-Philip Poulin (C), Jillian Saulnier, Sophie Shirley, Natalie Spooner, Blayre Turnbull, Jennifer Wakefield.
Goaltenders: Nicole Hensley, Alex Rigsby. Defence: Kacey Bellamy, Megan Bozek, Megan Keller, Monique Lamoureux, Emily Pfalzer, Lee Stecklein. Forwards: Hannah Brandt, Alex Carpenter, Kendall Coyne, Brianna Decker, Meghan Duggan (C), Amanda Kessel, Hilary Knight, Jocelyne Lamoureux, Annie Pankowski, Amanda Pelkey, Haley Skarupa, Kelli Stack, Dana Trivigno.