Canada beats U.S. 3-2 in SO
Wakefield gets winner, Wickenheiser leaves early
The victory was tempered by Canada's captain, Hayley Wickenheiser, leaving the game early in the second period. She had missed the CIS finals in Toronto a couple of weeks ago with an injury, but there are no indications yet whether this is the same problem or something new.
Monique Lamoureux and Brianna Decker were the goalscorers for the U.S. while Rebecca Johnston and Catherine Ward scored for Canada in regulation. Meghan Agosta for Canada and Hilary Knight also scored in the shootout, which ended after four rounds of shooters.
Canada continues tomorrow night with a game against Switzerland while the United States plays Finland earlier in the day.
“We wanted to start with a good level of intensity, be physical, get the momentum, but it didn't work out like that, said Canadian forward Caroline Ouellette. "Still, we battled in the third. That was our best period. We crashed the net, had several chances. I think we have to build from that and play three periods like we played in the third."
The Americans had the only two goals and the only two power plays of a nervous opening period. Lamoureux opened the scoring at 4:05 with the extra man. From the stick side of Shannon Szabados’s crease the right-hand shot lifted the puck over the goalie’s shoulder.
Then, with just 66 seconds left in the period they made it 2-0 off a giveaway at their own blue line. Amanda Kessel was stopped off the rush, but Decker followed up on the play and scored on her own rebound after being left unchecked in Szabados’s crease.Continue reading
The goals deflated the Canadians as teams headed to the dressing room, but they were skating better than a year ago when they were badly beaten in the opening game. The difference was the U.S. ability to get in the way of shots and passes, blocking any advance that might have been dangerous.
Canada started the second with better legs and greater intensity, and the team was rewarded with two quick power plays that resulted in a five-on-three for 1:10.
The Americans killed the situation off expertly and the Canadians misfired with several decent chances, not forcing Vetter to make any difficult saves.
Wickenheiser skated off the ice about seven minutes into the period and went straight to the dressing room and did not return.
“She’s a great player, but I feel we collectively took on her role and picked up the slack," Wakefield said. "We’re expecting her to return, which will be good."
Midway through the period Canada earned another power play but failed to capitalize, and as Kacey Bellamy came out of the box she took a breakaway pass and skated in alone, only to be stopped cold by Szabados.
Twice later in the period Canada drew another penalty, and twice they negated these opportunities soon after by taking a penalty of their own.
“The refs started to call things a little more in the second, but that’s what you get when two teams play physically," Lamoureux suggested. "We probably have to clean it up a bit."
The Canadians dominated the first half of the final period and were rewarded off a turnover at the U.S. blueline. Rebecca Johnston snapped a loose puck over a fallen Vetter off a mad scramble at 11:13 to make it a 2-1 game.
The rest of the period was all Canada, and with 1:47 to go the home side tied the game. Srah Vaillancourt's long shot got to the goal but trickled out the back side and Catherine Ward had a wide open net to work with. She didn't miss, and the game went to extra time.
"We wanted to take the body a bit more in the second and keep them on their heels," Wakefield added. "We didn’t give them many scoring opportunities in the third, and we capitalized on ours."
Canada - United States
Jennifer Wakefield scored the decisive goal of the shootout to give Canada a 3-2 win in a tense game which saw the Americans grab an early 2-0 lead only to see Canada rally late in the third.