Haley Irwin, Sarah Nurse and Marie-Philip Poulin scored as Canada’s National Women’s Team beat the United States 3-1 to pick up its fourth straight win of the pre-Olympic series.
Ann-Renée Desbiens made 25 saves in earning her first win against the Americans with the National Women’s Team.
Two other players also scored milestones: for Nurse, her goal was her first point against her team’s biggest rival; and with her assist on Irwin’s goal, Sarah Potomak picked up her first point against the U.S.
After dropping the opener of the six-game set, Canada now leads the series 4-1. Its latest win was its best game yet. The team held a 36-26 advantage in shots on net, and both Meghan Agosta and Rebecca Johnston rang pucks off the outside of the post.
It was the United States, however, striking first on the power play early in the second period. Fifteen seconds after Jennifer Wakefield took a seat for tripping, Brianna Decker snuck away from her defender to shovel in a rebound at the side of the net.
Later in the period, Canada struck twice in less than three minutes to take a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
Irwin tied the game with a great individual effort. She gained possession of the puck below the goal line, cycled to the side boards, held the puck through the slot and finished with a low backhand from the circle.
Nurse swiped at the puck in the crease and, with perhaps an assist to the stick of defender Kacey Bellamy, gave Canada the lead 2:24 later on a goal that needed a pair of video reviews. The challenges confirmed no kicking motion by Nurse and no goalie interference by a crashing-the-net Laura Stacey.
Canada struck early in the third period to extend its lead. Agosta won a battle along the end boards and fed the puck out front to Poulin, who paused for a split second before going glove side.
Alex Rigsby stopped 33 Canadian shots for the U.S.
The teams wrap up their series in Edmonton on Sunday.
IHLC: With the win, Canada retains the International Hockey Lineal Championship, their 34th title, their third straight win over Team USA, and their 141st IHLC tilt in history, improving Canada’s all-time record against the Americans to 80-60-1. This marks the fifth meeting in San Jose between these two, which the U.S. leads 3-2, and is their first meeting since a 2001 exhibition game. Their exhibition series ends in two days’ time in Edmonton, with the winner taking the title to PyeongChang for the 2018 Olympics.
03:16 – PEN – Nurse, hooking
19:43 – PEN – Bellamy, body checking
21:50 – PEN – Wakefield, tripping
22:05 – PP GOAL – Decker (Knight, Coyne)
32:57 – GOAL – Irwin (Krzyzaniak, Potomak)
35:21 – PEN – team, too many players
38:15 – GOAL – Nurse (Clark)
38:40 – PEN – Larocque, roughing
40:55 – GOAL – Poulin (Agosta, Daoust)
53:44 – PEN – Bellamy, body checking
58:59 – PEN – Poulin, delay of game
W: Desbiens (25-26)
L: Rigsby (33-36)
SHOTS ON GOAL
11+18+7 = 36
7+10+9 = 26
Goaltenders: Ann-Renée Desbiens, Geneviève Lacasse. Defence: Laura Fortino, Micah Hart, Halli Krzyzaniak, Brigette Lacquette, Jocelyne Larocque, Lauriane Rougeau. Forwards: Meghan Agosta (A), Bailey Bram, Emily Clark, Mélodie Daoust, Haley Irwin, Brianne Jenner (A), Rebecca Johnston, Sarah Nurse, Sarah Potomak, Marie-Philip Poulin (C), Laura Stacey, Jennifer Wakefield.
Goaltenders: Nicole Hensley, Alex Rigsby. Defence: Cayla Barnes, Kacey Bellamy (A), Megan Bozek, Kali Flanagan, Megan Keller, Sidney Morin, Emily Pfalzer, Lee Stecklein. Forwards: Hannah Brandt, Dani Cameranesi, Alex Carpenter, Kendall Coyne, Brianna Decker, Meghan Duggan (C), Amanda Kessel, Hilary Knight, Gigi Marvin, Kelly Pannek, Amanda Pelkey, Haley Skarupa.