The United States women’s national team is 2-0 after beating Canada 4-2 and Finland 4-1 in its preliminary IIHF World Championship Games, and will face Russia in the final round-robin game tomorrow morning.
The USA National team drew first blood against Canada on Friday on a two-man advantage when Jocelyne Lamoureux put a puck past Canada’s netminder Genevieve LaCasse. Canada would answer and tie the game on a breakaway, though, when Brianne Jenner beat USA goaltender Jessie Vetter.
Team USA broke the tie when Hanna Brandt tipped a shot from Kacey Bellamy past LaCasse, and took a 3-1 lead in the last two minutes of the first period when Kendall Coyne capitalized on a power play.
Canada would come back in the second period when Jennifer Wakefield made it a 3-2 game when she scored on her backhand. It would be the last run of luck for Canada, though, as they could not muster more of a comeback. Hilary Knight made the game 4-2 when she crashed the net at 6:35 in the third.
The win was a huge confidence booster to the Americans, who hope to see Canada again in the final championship game.
“It’s very exciting,” said Bellamy in a press release. “Obviously the U.S.-Canada rivalry is what we live for, what we train for. We just wanted to start off on a good note. I think it was a really great team effort out there.”
Team Canada needed to get back to basics, said Canadian Coach Doug Derraugh.
“I think we came to work hard, but I didn’t think we were working that smart,” he said. “We just had to believe in the system and stick to what our game plan was and not just get running around and chasing the puck.”
The United States bested Finland 4-1 yesterday, out-shooting the Finns 53-12. Knight added two goals in the contest, while Brandt and Coyne each notched a goal as well. Knight now has three goals in the tournament while Brandt and Coyne each have two.
Brianna Decker notched three assists in the game.
“Coyner and Knighter and I, we’re all just moving the puck really well, and finding the spaces where we can just make passes easier,” said Decker in a press release.
U.S. Goaltender Alex Rigsby made her debut in a women’s world championship game.
Finland took a 1-0 lead when Finnish forward Susanna Tapani beat Rigsby on their second shot of the game.
The United States answered 28 seconds later when Knight got the puck on her stick and dipsy-doodled her way around Finnish goaltender Meeri Raisanen.
“Obviously they’re veterans, world-class players,” said U.S. Head Coach Ken Klee. “There was no panic in our bench. [The Finns] made a nice play, and we can tip our hat and get right back to it.”
The Americans never looked back. Knight would again find the back of the net on the power play to make the score 2-1. Coyne made it 3-1 on a rebound she picked up from Decker’s shot. Brandt notched the fourth goal when she pulled a drag-and-drop and lifted the puck high over Raisanen’s glove.
Canada blanked Russia 4-0 in their second preliminary game, with goals from Marie-Philip Poulin, Courtney Bichard, Caroline Oulette and Laura Fortino. Team Canada will face Finland tomorrow.
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