The U.S. women’s ice hockey team has achieved so much in recent years, including a gold medal at the most recent Olympic Winter Games and five consecutive world championship titles that could soon become six.
On Saturday night the team reached a new high, however, when the largest crowd ever to watch a women’s national team game in the U.S. assembled in Anaheim, California, to watch the final installment of the five-game Rivalry Series between Team USA and Canada.
The U.S. clinched the series win on Wednesday night, but a total of 13,320 people were still on hand at the Honda Center to watch Team USA end the series with a 4-3 overtime win in the last major meeting between the two teams before the world championship begins on March 31.
The contest topped the previous largest crowd to watch the women’s national team play in the U.S. when 10,158 came out to Joe Louis Arena in Detroit to watch Team USA play Canada on Jan. 6, 2002.
This was the second edition of the Rivalry Series. The first took place last year, with Canada winning in a three-game series contested in February 2019. This year the series expanded to five games. The U.S. took the first two contests in December, winning 4-1 in Hartford, Connecticut, and then 2-1 in Moncton, New Brunswick. The Hartford game was part of the Team USA Champions Series, presented by Xfinity.
After a month-and-a-half break, the series resumed this past week. Canada prevailed in overtime in Game 3, winning 3-2 on Monday in Victoria, British Columbia, before the U.S. won the fourth game 3-1 on Wednesday in Vancouver, British Columbia, to clinch the series title.
Coming into Saturday’s finale, eight different players had scored goals for the U.S., with Abby Roque, Alex Carpenter and Hilary Knight leading with two apiece.
Though the series had already been decided, both teams came out firing on Saturday, with each scoring twice in the first period. Knight opened the scoring less than three minutes into the game, only for Canada’s Jill Saulnier and Loren Gabel to put the visitors ahead 2-1. However, Team USA’s Dani Cameranesi evened things up before time expired, beating Canada goalie Geneviève Lacasse on the near post to make it 2-2 going into the intermission.
Canada answered quickly, though, with Mélodie Daoust scoring three minutes into the second period to make it 3-2.
The U.S. finally answered nine minutes into the third, when Monique Lamoureux-Morando found the back of the net. Lamoureux-Morando, whose tying goal sent the 2018 Olympic gold-medal game into overtime, and her twin sister Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson were back on the U.S. roster for the first time this month after both giving birth to sons a little over a year ago.
Fittingly, Lamoureux-Morando’s goal sent this game to overtime, too.
And just like in 2018 in PyeongChang, the U.S. prevailed — though it didn’t need to wait for a shootout this time. Megan Bozek scored less than a minute into overtime to secure the win.
Goalie Alex (Rigsby) Cavallini made nine saves on 12 shots for Team USA.
The rivals won’t be apart long. They meet again on April 5 in the preliminary round of the world championship, which is taking place in Halifax and Truro, Nova Scotia. If history is any indication, they are likely to meet again five days later for the gold medal. Since the women’s world championship began in 1990, the U.S. and Canada had met in every title game until 2019, when the U.S. played Finland.