The drive for five in a row is off to an outstanding start for the U.S. women’s hockey team at the IIHF Women’s World Championship in Espoo, Finland.
Team USA, which is after its fifth consecutive gold medal and ninth world championship title overall, defeated archrival Canada in the second game of the preliminary round 3-2 Saturday.
The U.S. is 2-0 in preliminary competition after a tournament-opening 6-2 win over Finland. It will meet Switzerland on Sunday and Russia on Tuesday before the playoffs begin with the quarterfinal round on Thursday.
If history is any indication, however, Saturday’s meeting with Canada won’t be the last of the tournament. The two teams have played in the gold-medal game in all 18 previous years.
Hilary Knight kicked things off scoring on a 2-on-1 breakaway with Dani Cameranesi to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead early in the first period. Canada evened it up two minutes later, but Kendall Coyne Schofield put the U.S. back on top, jumping on a loose puck in Canada’s end and backhanding it past the goaltender after a quick drive to the net at 18:13.
Once again Canada tied it 2-2 early in the second, but the U.S. had an answer, this time coming from Annie Pankowski with her second goal of the tournament. Her slapshot from the point worked its way through traffic and the U.S. took a 3-2 lead into the third period.
The U.S. and Canada most recently stoked the fires of their longtime rivalry during a three-game series at the end of February that took them to London and Toronto and Detroit. Canada took the series 2-1.