The U.S. women’s ice hockey team fell to Canada 3-2 Friday evening to close out round-robin play at the Four Nations Cup at the Vierumaki Arena in Vierumaki, Finland.
As the only teams to win Olympic and world championship gold, any contest between the two sides is assured to be a battle. Both entered the contest with 2-0 records, but Team USA held the No. 1 spot by virtue of goal differential. Compiling a 10-0 advantage in its first two contests, the Americans held the statistical edge on Canada, which had scored only six goals and allowed one. However, Canada came into the contest with revenge on its mind after the last meeting between the two, which saw the U.S. take the world championship title on Canadian ice.
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Kendall Coyne, a member of the 2014 Olympic silver medalist team, started the fireworks immediately. Hilary Knight, a two-time Olympic silver medalist and five-time world champion, found Coyne by the left post, and she pushed it past Canada goalkeeper Genevieve Lacasse to put Team USA up a mere 13 seconds into the contest. Canada was just as quick to counter, as Erin Ambrose scored the equalizer 37 seconds later to level the game at 1-1, the first goal allowed by the U.S. in the tournament. That score stood at the first intermission after a physical 20 minutes that saw five penalties called, three on Canada. The contest ended with a total of 12 penalties whistled, five against the Americans.
Two-time Olympic silver medalist Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson pushed the U.S. back on top at 32:40 when Lacasse spilled a save on a point-blank shot by Kelli Stack. Lamoureux-Davidson stuck her stick into the scramble and forced the puck over the line for a 2-1 advantage, but it was once again short-lived. Canada answered when Jessica Campbell picked off a pass in the center third, then rushed down the left side, setting up a cross-goal feed to Sarah Davis, who tucked it in behind U.S. goalie Alex Rigsby.
Canada gained the lead for the first time at the 45:59 mark when Haley Irwin converted a power play opportunity, giving her team a 3-2 advantage that would stand the final 14 minutes.
The spirited rivalry between the two sides is set to continue in Saturday’s gold-medal game, which will be their 15th meeting since 2000 with the Four Nations title on the line. Team USA is the reigning champion and has won three of the last five, while Canada has a total of 10 Four Nations titles to its credit. The puck drops for the gold-medal game at 11:30 a.m. ET Saturday.