After having opened Group A play with a 6-0 win over Team Switzerland on Thursday, Team Canada took to the ice on Saturday, this time squaring off against Kendall Coyne Schofield and the rival Americans.
Getting the start for Team Canada on Saturday was Montreal goaltender Emerance Maschemeyer, going up against Alex Rigsby, Clarkson Cup champion with the Calgary Inferno.
Prior to the game, Marie-Philip Poulin took part in warmup with Team Canada, however, a short time later, head coach Perry Pearn confirmed that the Quebec native remains listed as day-to-day.
The game got off to a quick start for USA Hockey against the Canadians as Hilary Knight netted one past Emerance Maschmeyer, opening the scoring for the Americans in Espoo. For Knight, it would be her second goal of the tournament.
Just a few moments later with Canada seeking revenge early on, Natalie Spooner would rush up with the puck towards Alex Rigsby in net for the Americans, sending it to Sarah Nurse on her left who would tie the game on USA’s doorstep.
As the period continued on with just over ten minutes left to play, Megan Bozek would take a shot on Canada’s net looking to do more, however, Emerance Maschmeyer would keep them steady, making the save and stopping the play.
With just over five minutes left, Hilary Knight would take another shot, however, once again, Emerance Maschemeyer would come up with the save. Alex Rigsby then stopped a shot sent the American’s way from Ann-Sophie Bettez.
With two minutes remaining and Team USA looking to do more damage, Kendall Coyne Schofield would slip one past Emerance Maschemeyer in Canada’s net, even the Americans a 2-1 lead with her second goal of the tournament. This would bring the second period to a close.
As the second period got underway, Team Canada took to the power play after Hilary Knight was sent to the penalty box, called for tripping early on for Team USA. This would pave the way for the Canadians to take the lead, Brianne Jenner netting one past Alex Rigsby, making for her second goal of the tournament.
Brigette Lacquette and Sarah Nurse would be credited with assists on the play. Just a moment later, Sydney Brodt would be called for tripping for Team USA, once again paving the way for Team Canada to take to the power play.
With the Canadians on the advantage, Lacquette would take a shot on Rigsby, however, it was stopped and saved by Alex Rigsby to keep the game knotted up at two. Team Canada would then receive a delayed penalty just minutes later, sending Melodie Daoust to the penalty box with Team USA put on the power play.
With the Americans working hard to get something done, Amanda Kessel would take a shot on Canada but saved by goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer. With just under ten minutes to play, Team Canada would be put on the power play, sending Kayla Barnes to the penalty box.
Brigette Lacquette, coming back for more, would take another shot on Team USA but stopped and saved by Alex Rigsby. As the period resumed and Team Canada’s floodgates broke open, Melodie Daoust sent the puck to Sarah Nurse who would take the one-timer but stopped and saved by Rigsby.
As the Americans went back on the power play, Emily Clark was sent to the penalty box for the Canadians. This would pave the way for Annie Pankowski to put Team USA ahead, scoring the game’s go-ahead goal, her second of the tournament with six minutes left to play in the middle frame.
Fast forward with just two minutes left, Brianne Jenner would take a shot on the Americans, but unable to find a hole as Alex Rigsby would come up with the save. With another open opportunity, Ann-Sophie Bettez would give it a shot of her own but stopped by Rigsby.
As the clock counted down on the game’s second period, Team Canada would head to the power play, Lacquette with a shot on the Americans but once again stopped and saved by Rigsby.
Melodie Daoust would be next with a shot, but unable to get it through a huddle out front of Rigsby and Team USA’s net. This would be followed up by a shot from Blayre Turnbull, but once again stopped and saved by Rigsby.
With Team Canada looking to tie things up, Erin Ambrose would go wide of the net, making for the last shot of the period as the buzzer sounded to bring the frame to a close.
The third period would open in Espoo with six seconds remaining on Canada’s power play, however, as it expired, Team USA would go the power play just three minutes later. This would send Renata Fast to the penalty box for Team Canada.
Brianna Decker would take a one-timer for Team USA, but blocked by Erin Ambrose in front of Emerance Maschmeyer. With 54 seconds remaining on the power play, Kacey Bellamy would take a shot but stopped by Maschmeyer.
Amanda Kessel would then find an opportunity but Maschmeyer wouldn’t allow it, keeping this in check early on for Team Canada. With fifteen seconds remaining, Alex Carpenter would take a shot, but once again stopped and saved by Maschmeyer.
With eleven minutes remaining, Jill Saulnier would be called for high sticking, sending Team USA back to the power play. This would make way for Hilary Knight who would take a shot but saved by Maschmeyer. On the doorstep of the goalies crease, Maschmeyer would come up with another quick save on Kayla Barnes.
As the power play expired, the game would go back to even strength at 9:43, Saulnier now out of the box but called for offside just seconds later. This would give Sydney Brodt an opportunity, though she would go wide of Maschmeyer and Team Canada’s net.
At the 6:27 mark, Hilary Knight would be called for tripping, Canada put back on the power play with Knight sent to the penalty box. Nothing would result from the advantage, giving Team USA a chance to double their lead late in the game.
With Knight now back in the game and just over four minutes to play, Loren Gabel would take a shot on Rigsby as Team Canada’s power play expired. However, after Barnes was called for high sticking at 2:24, Canada would get one last shot at the power play.
With the Americans not backing down, yet another advantage would expire for Team Canada, forcing Maschmeyer out of the game in favour of a six-on-four with 1:17 left.
With the game counting down on the final minute of play, Natalie Spooner would be charged for hooking, putting Canada on the penalty kill and bringing the game to four-on-four even strength.
As Team Canada looked to make the most of what was most likely their final chance, Laura Fortino took a shot on Alex Rigsby, though unable to poke the puck by her.
In the final thirty seconds, Maschmeyer would clear out of Team Canada’s net while Rebecca Johnston gained possession on the other end, just missing the game tying goal with fifteen seconds to play.
Team USA would then find themselves on the power play, though, not enough time to use it on as the clock dialled down to zero. This would give the Americans a 3-2 win over Canada in Finland.
Presenting the player of the game awards at Metro Areena in Espoo was NWHL commissioner Dani Rylan, recognizing the efforts of Brianne Jenner for Team Canada and Dani Camerenesi for Team USA.
Team USA returned to action against Team Switzerland on Sunday, puck drop having fallen at 12:30pmET on TSN, RDS and NHL Network. Meanwhile, for Team Canada, they return to action on Monday afternoon against Team Russia with puck scheduled to fall at 12:30pmET. The game can be seen on RDS as well as TSN 1, 3, 4 and 5.
Team Russia will then take on the Americans on Tuesday morning at 9:00amET with the game available for viewing on TSN 3 and 5, RDS and NHL Network. Following that is Canada against the host, Finland, with puck drop scheduled for 12:30pmET. That game can be seen on RDS and TSN 1, 3 and 4.
In a statement from head coach Perry Pearn regarding Canada’s performance, he said, “I think if you go back to the first period, we did not manage the puck very well and that was the thing we were really good at in the Rivalry Series. I think the U.S. had four two-on-ones in the first period and if you’re going to do that against this team you’re going to pay the price.”
“I think you always give the other team credit for what they did because the U.S. played a good game. One of the things we didn’t do was shoot the puck when we had the early power plays and that’s what makes a power play. If you don’t shoot the puck from the point you can’t ever expect to score.”
These comments come from a game which saw Emerance Maschmayer turn aside 27 of the 30 shots she faced, meanwhile, Brigette Lacquette walked away with a pair of assists.
Opposing Alex Rigsby in net for the Canadians was Emerance Maschmeyer and after the game when asked about what it’s like to take on the US, she said, “Every time we play the States there’s a lot of heart and passion behind it, just wearing our jersey and representing our country. There was a lot of emotion and a lot of excitement from the fans as well.”
When asked about what it takes to win puck battles against the US, Sarah Nurse would wrap things up on the media side when she said, “I think there’s definitely room for improvement. From the 4 Nations Cup to where this team is now I think we did battle a lot harder, but I also think there’s another gear we can kick it into. We have to come out with the same intensity every period. We challenged ourselves that we wanted a good second period and I think we did. Coming into the third, we didn’t have our best 20 minutes, but we want to continue that for the next game.”
For Sarah Nurse, alike Calgary Inferno centreman Brianne Jenner, Saturday’s game was her 100th game for Canada’s National Women’s Team. The Canadians certainly didn’t hold back, outshooting the US 33-30 and look to rebound from the rivalry loss and come out on the other end swinging in the matinee on Monday.