Jennifer Wakefield’s late overtime goal, just 26 seconds shy of going to a penalty shootout, guaranteed Canada will carry the International Hockey Lineal Championship into PyeongChang next winter, sending Canada to a 2-1 victory over Team USA to complete their pre-Olympic exhibition series.
With a frenzied crowd at Rogers Place looking to send off their ladies to Korea with a win, it was captain Marie-Philip Poulin again causing goal problems for Team USA, this time on the power play, blasting a low point shot through a crowd in front of U.S. goalkeeper Maddie Rooney to draw first blood, taking the 1-0 lead into first intermission. Team USA came roaring back in the second, however, outshooting Canada 12-4 on the frame and getting an equalizer from their sniper, Hilary Knight, burying a one-timer feed from a streaking Kendall Coyne past Shannon Szabados midway through the second.
Szabados kept Canada holding on in the third, with Canada outshot 13-6 and taking two penalties, including one with just over five minutes remaining in regulation, to send the game to overtime. Canada held the Americans to just two shots (to their five) in the extra period, and with the game seemingly going into a shootout, Natalie Spooner managed to break into the U.S. zone with incredible speed, drawing defender Lee Stecklein to behind the net, where Spooner threw the puck in front, where the puck was mishandled by both Rooney and defender Emily Pfalzer, allowing a bulldozing Wakefield the chance to crash the net and bury the rebound for the winner.
With the win, Canada retains their 34th International Hockey Lineal Championship, which they won at the beginning of the month in Saint Paul and have retained against the U.S. in their fourth straight victory. The win, their first ever tilt in Edmonton, improves Canada’s all-time IHLC record against the U.S. to 81-60-1, and guarantees that Canada will be the incumbent champion heading into the 2018 Olympics this February, where they will open their tournament on February 11 against the Olympic Athletes From Russia squad in Gangneung.
15:11 – PEN – Marvin, hooking
16:42 – PEN – Duggan, holding
17:15 – PP GOAL – Poulin (Johnston, Fortino)
20:53 – PEN – Hart, tripping
34:02 – GOAL – Knight (Coyne, M. Lamoureux)
38:04 – PEN – Poulin, hooking
38:26 – PEN – Kessel, tripping
40:54 – PEN – Cameranesi, hooking
43:34 – PEN – Spooner, tripping
53:28 – PEN – Turnbull, delay of game
64:34 – GOAL – Wakefield (Spooner)
W: Szabados (34-35)
L: Rooney (24-26)
SHOTS ON GOAL
11+4+6+5 = 26
8+12+13+2 = 35
Goaltenders: Geneviève Lacasse, Shannon Szabados. Defence: Renata Fast, Laura Fortino, Micah Hart, Halli Krzyzaniak, Brigette Lacquette, Meaghan Mikkelson. Forwards: Meghan Agosta (A), Bailey Bram, Mélodie Daoust, Haley Irwin, Brianne Jenner (A), Rebecca Johnston, Sarah Potomak, Marie-Philip Poulin (C), Jillian Saulnier, Natalie Spooner, Blayre Turnbull, Jennifer Wakefield.
Goaltenders: Nicole Hensley, Maddie Rooney. Defence: Kacey Bellamy (A), Megan Bozek, Kali Flanagan, Megan Keller, Monique Lamoureux, Sidney Morin, Emily Pfalzer, Lee Stecklein. Forwards: Hannah Brandt, Dani Cameranesi, Alex Carpenter, Kendall Coyne, Brianna Decker, Meghan Duggan (C), Amanda Kessel, Hilary Knight, Jocelyne Lamoureux, Gigi Marvin, Kelly Pannek, Amanda Pelkey.