After the 2018 Olympics and past two world championships had to be decided in overtime or a shootout, the U.S. women’s hockey team took the drama out of beating Canada to win the Four Nations Cup on Saturday night in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Three-time Olympic medalist Hilary Knight scored twice, leading the U.S. to a 5-2 win over Canada in the championship game. The win marks Team USA’s fourth in a row at the Four Nations Cup.
As four-time defending world champs and 2018 Olympic champs, the U.S. has taken an advantage over the rest of the world in recent years, including archrivals Canada, which has finished second in all of those tournaments.
Competing for the first time since winning the 2018 Olympic gold medal, the U.S. women swept all four games in the Four Nations Cup, including a 2-1 victory over Canada on Wednesday.
Finland beat Sweden 4-2 in the third-place game earlier on Saturday.
The title game started out tight, as is usually the case when the U.S. and Canada play. Knight opened the scoring less than 90 seconds into the game, only for Canada’s Laura Fortino to answer less than three minutes later.
That was as close as it would be, though.
Melissa Samoskevich added another goal for Team USA in the first period, and then Brianna Decker and Knight added tallies in the second period. When Kendall Coyne Schofield scored 41 seconds into the third period, the U.S. was up to a 5-1 lead. Though Jaime Bourbonnais scored to bring Canada back within three, that was as close as it would get.
Goalie Alex Rigsby made 23 saves to earn the win. Rigsby, Coyne Schofield, Decker and Knight were all part of the 2018 Olympic gold medal team.
Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is sports editor of the Cape Cod Times and a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.