Team USA capitalized on their special teams dominance to capture their eighth Four Nations Cup title, dispatching Canada 5-1 in Tampa, Florida to retain the International Hockey Lineal Championship.
Unsurprisingly, both teams came out on more of a defensive front to start the game, with each team only taking a single penalty each, and refusing to give an inch against both Maddie Rooney in goal for Team USA and Geneviève Lacasse for Canada. But Hannah Brandt, however, had other ideas in the second period, notching a pair of goals in just 103 seconds to suddenly give the Americans a 2-0 lead after two, first beating Lacasse five-hole on a 2-on-1 with Amanda Kessel, followed by a deflection off an Emily Pfalzer deflection on the man advantage.
Meghan Agosta managed to halve the deficit midway through the third, blasting a Brigette Lacquette cross-ice feed past Rooney on the power play to put the score at 2-1. With the clock winding down, and seemingly yet another Canada-USA game destined for overtime or a shootout, an Emily Clark tripping call with 4:49 remaining proved to be the turning point, as defensive kryptonite Hilary Knight buried a Kacey Bellamy rebound past a sprawling Lacasse to take the lead with just 3:41 left in regulation. A pair of late penalties prevented Canada from pulling Lacasse, and Kessel blasted an absolute bomb past Lacasse on another power play with just 67 seconds left in the game to take the 4-1 lead, sealing the victory. Kendall Coyne, for good measure, decided to add a late goal with just 17 seconds to go, sending the Tampa Bay crowd into a late frenzy over the 5-1 victory.
With the win, Team USA retains the International Hockey Lineal Championship, their 31st title, which they won from Canada in the Group Round just four days ago. The meeting marks the first between these rivals since the aforementioned round robin game, and is the 138th all-time meeting between these squads, now putting the overall series at 77-60-1 in favour of Canada. This was also the 21st Nations Cup final between Canada and the U.S., of which Canada has won 13 and the Americans now 8, and is the third straight Gold Medal over Canada for Team USA. The Americans will now enter the second leg of their pre-Olympic exhibition series against Canada with the IHLC, reconvening again on December 3 in Saint Paul for the title.
03:35 – PEN – Decker, hooking
11:09 – PEN – Fast, tripping
26:42 – PEN – Keller, interference
30:33 – PEN – Poulin, cross checking
35:06 – GOAL – Brandt (Cameranesi, Bellamy)
36:34 – PEN – Larocque, cross checking
36:49 – PP GOAL – Brandt (Pfalzer, Kessel)
46:52 – PEN – Wakefield, body checking
49:36 – PEN – team, too many players
49:40 – PEN – Decker, roughing
49:40 – PEN – Larocque, roughing
50:42 – PP GOAL – Agosta (Lacquette, Irwin)
51:23 – PEN – Keller, hooking
55:11 – PEN – Clark, tripping
56:19 – PP GOAL – Knight (Coyne, Bellamy)
56:54 – PEN – Wakefield, interference
58:32 – PEN – Lacasse, slashing
58:53 – PP GOAL – Kessel (Pfalzer, Cameranesi)
59:43 – GOAL – Coyne (Knight, Cameranesi)
W: Rooney (18-19)
L: Lacasse (22-27)
SHOTS ON GOAL
7+13+7 = 27
8+6+5 = 19
Goaltenders: Alex Rigsby, Maddie Rooney. Defence: Cayla Barnes, Kacey Bellamy (A), Megan Bozek, Kali Flanagan, Megan Keller, Emily Pfalzer, Lee Stecklein. Forwards: Hannah Brandt, Dani Cameranesi, Alex Carpenter, Kendall Coyne, Brianna Decker, Meghan Duggan (C), Amanda Kessel, Hilary Knight, Gigi Marvin, Annie Pankowski, Kelly Pannek, Amanda Pelkey.
Goaltenders: Ann-Renée Desbiens, Geneviève Lacasse. Defence: Renata Fast, Laura Fortino, Brigette Lacquette, Jocelyne Larocque, Meaghan Mikkelson, Lauriane Rougeau (A). Forwards: Meghan Agosta, Bailey Bram, Emily Clark, Haley Irwin, Brianne Jenner, Rebecca Johnston, Marie-Philip Poulin (C), Jillian Saulnier, Natalie Spooner (A), Laura Stacey, Blayre Turnbull, Jennifer Wakefield.