By Gary R. Blockus | Nov. 08, 2017, 10:29 p.m. (ET)
Brianna Decker (L) celebrates her second-period goal against Canada with Megan Bozek at the 2017 IIHF Women's World Championships on March 31, 2017 in Plymouth, Mich.

 

Defensemen Cayla Barnes and Megan Bozek scored first-period goals, and forwards Kendall Coyne and Alex Carpenter added two more in the third period, as the U.S. women’s ice hockey team defeated archrival Canada 4-2 in the second round of games at the Four Nations Cup on Wednesday at the Florida Hospital Center Ice in Wesley Chapel, Florida.

In the afternoon game, Finland defeated Sweden 3-1 for its first win. Team USA is 2-0 in round-robin play while Canada and Finland are 1-1. Sweden is 0-2.

The Americans have won the last four world titles, beating Canada each time, but the Canadians have won every Olympic gold medal since 2002. The two rivals are favored again heading into the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.

Their game Wednesday was the second of four, and possibly five, in which the teams will meet prior to the Winter Games as part of their The Time is Now Tour. Canada won the first meeting 5-1 on Oct. 25 in Boston. The teams have two more scheduled games and could possibly meet Sunday in the Four Nations Cup title game.

Special teams were on display Wednesday night as Team USA went 3-for-5 on the power play and U.S. penalty killers held Canada to just one goal on nine power plays.

Barnes, 18, scored on a power play with 4:57 left in the opening period for her second straight game with a goal. Coyne and Brianna Decker, both silver medalists at the 2014 Winter Games, picked up the assists.

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Bozek, also a 2014 Olympian, found the back of the net with 2:10 left in the first by converting a feed from Annie Pankowski to put Team USA up 2-0 at the first intermission.

Canada finally solved U.S. goalie Maddie Rooney and the penalty kill with Rebecca Johnston’s unassisted power play goal 3:07 into the middle period after two-time Olympian Kacey Bellamy was sent off for slashing. 

Coyne, another 2014 Olympian, made it 3-1 in the third period on a power play goal, beating goalie Ann-Renee Desbiens just 50 seconds into the period with Decker getting her second assist of the night.

Canada’s Meghan Agosta cut the U.S. lead to 3-2 on a short-handed goal with 4:29 left in regulation, but Carpenter, also a 2014 Olympian, scored the third power play goal of the night for Team USA just 36 seconds later for a commanding 4-2 lead.

After a day off on Thursday, action in the round-robin portion concludes Friday when Canada skates against Finland at 3 p.m. ET followed by Sweden-Team USA at 6:30 p.m.

The bronze-medal game takes place 12 p.m. Sunday in Tampa, followed by the gold-medal game at 3:30 p.m.

Gary R. Blockus is a journalist from Allentown, Pennsylvania who has covered multiple Olympic Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.