The top female players from around the world today convened to take over the NHL All-Star Skills Competition in St. Louis, taking part in a Canada vs. USA 3-on-3 game in front of a packed crowd at Enterprise Center in advance of their upcoming Rivalry Series and the 2020 Women’s World Championship.
It was announced that in addition to a new trick shot competition, that a 3-on-3 tournament between the world’s top women’s hockey nations (and greatest rivals) would take place as part of the Skills Competition, after the splash that Team USA and Canada players made at last year’s event in San Jose. Kendall Coyne famously kept pace with top NHL stars, coming within a second of winner Connor McDavid’s time in the fastest skater competition, and Brianna Decker was awarded the top prize via a sponsor after defeating all male participants in the premier passer challenge, sending shockwaves through the hockey world.
It was decided to feature even more players at this year’s All-Star Game in St. Louis, with Coyne and Decker leading a 10-player American team against 10 top Canadians (see rosters below) – notably, all members are part of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association, currently partaking in a boycott of the NWHL following the CWHL’s sudden shutdown, in the hopes of a consolidated pro women’s league in North America. The teams are coached by Hall of Famers Cammi Granato and Jayna Hefford, respectively, who took part in the first women’s All-Star feature in Vancouver 22 years ago, which set the women’s hockey attendance record at the time for a full 60 minute match, which Canada won 2-1.
In the game, which followed the 2 period, 10 minutes format that the men’s tournament comprises of, it was Canada that skated away with the 2-1 victory, with Ann-Renée Desbiens stealing the show, stopping 15 of 16 shots and only allowing a single goal to Hilary Knight. Rebecca Johnston and Mélodie Daoust notched the tallies for Canada, who totalled 16 shots on Alex Rigsby throughout the game. Desbiens, who stopped a number of key American chances with highly acrobatic saves, put her final mark on the victory with a last-second save on Amanda Kessel to seal the victory in front of a delighted St. Louis crowd.
00:54 – 🇨🇦 GOAL – Johnston (Agosta, Fast)
10:25 – 🇨🇦 GOAL – Daoust (Poulin)
14:24 – 🇺🇸 GOAL – Knight (Pankowski)
W: 🇨🇦 Desbiens (15-16)
L: 🇺🇸 Rigsby (14-16)
SHOTS ON GOAL
🇨🇦 7+9 = 16
🇺🇸 11+5 = 16
🇨🇦 Goaltender: Ann-Renée Desbiens. Defence: Renata Fast, Laura Fortino. Forwards: Meghan Agosta, Mélodie Daoust, Rebecca Johnston, Sarah Nurse, Marie-Philip Poulin, Natalie Spooner, Blayre Turnbull.
🇺🇸 Goaltender: Alex Rigsby. Defence: Kacey Bellamy, Lee Stecklein. Forwards: Alex Carpenter, Kendall Coyne, Brianna Decker, Amanda Kessel, Hilary Knight, Jocelyne Lamoureux, Annie Pankowski.
Here is hoping that women’s hockey becomes more of a mainstay on the All-Star weekend roster, and that soon the NHL and PWHPA can come to a collective agreement on the best path forward for professional women’s hockey.