Maddie Rooney looks on during the third period of the Group A Women's Preliminary Round ice hockey match between Team USA and Team Canada on Feb. 8, 2022 in Beijing, China.
The United States women’s hockey team’s forecheck was relentless Tuesday in Beijing, but the Americans came up short against Canada, losing 4-2 to close out the preliminary round of the Olympic tournament.
Brianne Jenner scored twice, Marie-Philip Poulin converted on a penalty shot and Ann-Renee Desbiens made 51 saves as Canada improved to 4-0-0-0 at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. Jamie Lee Rattray also scored, and Sarah Fillier added an assist.
Dani Cameranesi and Alex Carpenter scored for the U.S., but the Americans lost to their northern neighbor for the sixth time in the previous eight contests dating back to the 2021 IIHF World Championship. Maddie Rooney added 23 saves in her second start of the Olympics.
“Not the result we wanted but there are a lot of opportunities to learn from this game as we move forward in the tournament,” USA captain Kendall Coyne Schofield said. “Ultimately when we get pucks to the net, we have to find ways to get those second and third opportunities in the back of the net.”
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The U.S. dictated the pace right from the start. In the first 20 minutes, Team USA outshot the Canadians 16-4 but gave up a power-play goal at 14:10.
Canada’s Poulin faked a shot from the slot and slid the puck to Fillier below the goal line who found Jenner open near the top of the crease.
“We’ll definitely learn from it,” Carpenter said. “You have to have a short-term memory. Learn from the mistakes, learn from the opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on.
The U.S. answered with two goals in 1:47 midway through the second period to erase the one-goal deficit. Kelly Pannek found Cameranesi in the slot with a beautiful backhand pass to even the score at 1-1. Cayla Barnes also assisted on the play.
🚨 @DaniCam9 stickin' with it! #WinterOlympics | #TeamUSA 🇺🇸pic.twitter.com/AkkyNDW4xL— USA Hockey (@usahockey) February 8, 2022
The U.S. took a short-lived one-goal lead on the power play when Amanda Kessel slid a backhand pass across to Carpenter who roofed a backhand at 11:34 of the middle frame. Carpenter leads the U.S. in goals with four and has also collected five career Olympic power-play goals.
However, Canada would respond with three goals in a span of 5:25, highlighted by Poulin’s penalty shot goal at 17:25 of the second period. The captain of team Canada intercepted a pass in the defensive zone then raced ahead of the American defense before drawing a penalty which led to the scoring opportunity.
“Defensively we can’t give up four,” U.S. coach Joel Johnson said. “Very, very rarely do you give up four goals and win a hockey game. It’s not impossible. That is certainly going to be a focus for us is to say ‘what can we can learn on the defensive side to try and shore that up.’”
Rooney kept the deficit at two with a big save on Rattray in the final minute, but the U.S. struggled to beat Desbiens despite the unyielding pressure and lofty shot attempt numbers.
Canada killed off five of six U.S. power-play chances.
Seven Canadian giveaways in the first period led to six shot attempts for the U.S. including Abbey Murphy’s chance that hit off the post twice. Barnes also had a shot from the point that squeezed through the pads of Desbiens, but a Canadian defender alertly cleared the puck before it could cross the goal line.
Megan Keller led the U.S. in ice time, playing a shade over 28 minutes Tuesday. Canada forward and most valuable player from the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang Melodie Daoust missed her third straight game with an upper-body injury.
While the chief objective was to remain undefeated in the preliminary round, the United States proved to themselves and their opponent that they can impose their style of play under any circumstances.
“We didn’t quit for 60 minutes,” Amanda Kessel said. “I don’t know the last time we put up that many shots against them (Canada). That’s something we can take away. We had the puck a lot of the game and created a lot of opportunities. … If we keep doing what we are doing the flood gates are going to open.”