Meghan Agosta and Jillian Saulnier scored, but Canada’s National Women’s Team fell 5-2 to the United States on Sunday in the first of six pre-Olympic exhibition games between the rivals.
Ann-Renée Desbiens took the loss in net.
Canada looked to have opened the scoring six minutes in; Natalie Spooner drove down the boards and behind the U.S. net before passing out front. With the puck going in off the skate of the trailing Bailey Bram, the goal was waved off.
Instead, it was the U.S. getting on the board first. On the power play, Megan Bozek hit the post from the point, and Hilary Knight deposited in the rebound from the doorstep.
Minutes after the Canadians couldn’t convert of their first power play opportunity, the U.S. doubled its lead with another rebound, this one by Brianna Decker.
Canada broke through late in the first. Agosta broke free on a breakaway, and after goaltender Maddie Rooney slipped coming out to challenge, the forward scored into an empty net. Agosta now has 20 goals against the United States, most of anyone on Canada’s 28-player centralization roster.
The U.S. took control of the game with a three-goal second period.
Annie Pankowski tipped in Alex Carpenter’s centering pass only 1:12 into the period. A poor cross-ice pass by the Canadians was intercepted and led to Carpenter scoring shorthanded off a centering pass from Emily Pfalzer. Decker then scored her second goal of the game, a one-timer seconds into a power play.
Canada struggled to create offence of its own during the middle frame. Its first shot didn’t come until nine minutes in, on the power play.
The only goal of the third period came on a nice passing play by the Canadians, and Saulnier’s backhand finish off a behind-the-net feed from Brianne Jenner.
The teams face off again Wednesday night in Boston.
IHLC: With the win, Team USA retains their 30th International Hockey Lineal Championship, which they won to open the 2017 World Championships against Canada this past March, and marks the sixth win of their current reign. This is the first of six exhibition games in the lead-up to Pyeongchang between these bitter rivals, the 135th IHLC meeting all-time, putting the record at 76-58-1 in favour of Canada, but with the Americans rapidly closing that gap. The series resumes in three days in Boston, with the IHLC on the line for the Americans now on home ice.
07:42 – PEN – Clark, slashing
09:05 – PP GOAL – Knight (Bozek, Decker)
11:38 – PEN – Duggan, tripping
16:00 – GOAL – Decker (M. Lamoureux, Duggan)
17:31 – GOAL – Agosta
20:11 – GOAL – Pankowski (Carpenter)
25:20 – PEN – Wakefield, tripping
28:38 – PEN – Bellamy, interference
30:16 – SH GOAL – Carpenter (Pfalzer)
36:14 – PEN – Ambrose, interference
36:22 – PP GOAL – Decker (Coyne, Bozek)
52:53 – GOAL – Saulnier (Jenner, Lacquette)
W: Rooney (23-25)
L: Desbiens (19-24)
SHOTS ON GOAL
14+8+2 = 24
10+7+8 = 25
Goaltenders: Alex Rigsby, Maddie Rooney. Defence: Kacey Bellamy (A), Megan Bozek, Kali Flanagan, Megan Keller, Monique Lamoureux (A), Gigi Marvin, Emily Pfalzer, Lee Stecklein. Forwards: Hannah Brandt, Dani Cameranesi, Alex Carpenter, Kendall Coyne, Brianna Decker, Meghan Duggan (C), Amanda Kessel, Hilary Knight, Jocelyne Lamoureux, Annie Pankowski, Kelly Pannek, Amanda Pelkey.
Goaltenders: Ann-Renée Desbiens, Geneviève Lacasse. Defence: Erin Ambrose, Laura Fortino, Halli Krzyzaniak, Brigette Lacquette, Jocelyne Larocque, Meaghan Mikkelson, Lauriane Rougeau (A). Forwards: Meghan Agosta, Bailey Bram, Emily Clark, Mélodie Daoust, Brianne Jenner (A), Rebecca Johnston, Sarah Nurse, Sarah Potomak, Marie-Philip Poulin (C), Jillian Saulnier, Natalie Spooner, Blayre Turnbull, Jennifer Wakefield.