Canada gained a measure of revenge against Team USA in their opening home-and-home exhibition series leading to the 2018 Olympics, winning 5-1 on enemy ice to even the series at a game apiece, and capturing the International Hockey Lineal Championship.
Canada seemed to start the first period on the defensive, being outshot 17-8 and taking the first two penalties of the game. But it was Natalie Spooner that struck the opening salvo 7:08 into the period, burying a 2-on-1 feed from Meghan Agosta past a stunned Nicole Hensley to take the lead. Emily Pfalzer would tie things up at 10:55 after slipping past the defence in front of Canadian keeper Geneviève Lacasse, potting in her own rebound after a nifty backhand attempt, keeping things at 1-1 after 20 minutes.
It was the second period where the floodgates opened for Canada, with Laura Fortino notching what would stand as the game winning goal while shorthanded, potting in a Jillian Saulnier pass in an almost identical fashion to Spooner, again on a 2-on-1. Late in the frame Spooner would score her second of the evening, this time on the power play, tapping in a rebound off a great Meaghan Mikkelson attempt, fully uninterrupted in front of Hensley, to put the score at 3-1. And just 82 seconds later, and with just 15 seconds left in the period, Jennifer Wakefield managed to steal the puck from the Americans at their own blueline, after breaking up an Agosta breakout attempt, leaving Agosta wide open to rip a one-timer bardown and in past a stunned Hensley, taking a surprising 4-1 lead into intermission.
Alex Rigsby was tasked with starting the third in place of Hensley, and despite taking four penalties and being outshot in the third period, Team USA was unable to solve Lacasse, who was rock solid all evening against a rapid-fire American offense. Captain Marie-Philip Poulin drove the final nail into the coffin late in the period, intercepting a poor clearing attempt from Alex Carpenter and ripping a laser top corner past Rigsby to seal the victory at 5-1.
With the win, Canada wins their record 33rd International Hockey Lineal Championship, their first title since December 2016. The tilt marks the 136th IHLC meeting between these squads, and the second pre-Olympic exhibition game of six, with the first game going to Team USA three nights earlier in a 5-1 victory. The win means that Canada will bring the IHLC to Florida for the Four Nations Cup, with their first defence an exhibition tilt against Finland on November 5.
00:53 – PEN – Bram, tripping
07:08 – GOAL – Spooner (Agosta)
10:55 – GOAL – Pfalzer
14:46 – PEN – Potomak, roughing
14:46 – PEN – Duggan, roughing
18:06 – PEN – M. Lamoureux, interference
21:04 – PEN – Turnbull, body checking
23:31 – PEN – Jenner, holding
24:52 – SH GOAL – Fortino (Saulnier)
26:32 – PEN – Fast, hooking
31:03 – PEN – Turnbull, body checking
37:34 – PEN – Decker, elbowing
38:23 – PP GOAL – Spooner (Mikkelson, Poulin)
39:45 – GOAL – Agosta (Wakefield)
41:38 – PEN – Potomak, holding
42:11 – PEN – Cameranesi, hooking
44:24 – PEN – team, too many players
50:10 – PEN – Clark, cross checking
55:06 – GOAL – Poulin
58:16 – PEN – Wakefield, body checking
W: Lacasse (37-38)
L: Hensley (12-16), Rigsby (6-7)
SHOTS ON GOAL
8+8+7 = 23
17+11+10 = 38
Goaltenders: Ann-Renée Desbiens, Geneviève Lacasse. Defence: Renata Fast, Laura Fortino, Micah Hart, Jocelyne Larocque, Meaghan Mikkelson, Lauriane Rougeau (A). Forwards: Meghan Agosta, Bailey Bram, Emily Clark, Brianne Jenner (A), Rebecca Johnston, Amy Potomak, Marie-Philip Poulin (C), Jillian Saulnier, Natalie Spooner, Laura Stacey, Blayre Turnbull, Jennifer Wakefield.
Goaltenders: Nicole Hensley, Alex Rigsby. 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.