Kali Flanagan passes the puck in the third period at the PPL Center on Oct. 22, 2021 in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
ALLENTOWN, Pa. – The United States’ Women’s hockey team’s road to the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 began in Allentown, Pennsylvania with the first of nine games against Team Canada.
Emily Clark scored twice and Emerance Maschmeyer turned aside 28 of 29 shots as Canada skated to a 3-1 victory against the United States.
Friday marked the first time in 622 days that the U.S. Women's National Team played a game against an international opponent on U.S. soil. With the pandemic disrupting competition globally, Team USA last played in front of a home crowd on Feb. 8, 2020, defeating Canada, 4-3 in overtime, in the final game of the 2020 Rivalry Series at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
Hayley Scamurra scored for the U.S. and Alex Cavallini made 16 saves in the debut of the My Why Tour which will feature 12 exhibition games, including three against Russia in Belfast, Northern Ireland in the middle of November.
“I couldn’t have been prouder of our overall group effort,” U.S. coach Joel Johnson said. “Obviously, as a professional organization you don’t settle for losses, but I was pretty pleased with how we played. We are going to learn from the things we can and move on and look forward to Monday. … We saw a great hockey game. As far as what our coaching staff, team staff was hoping for, this is exactly what it was. I am really proud of our effort.”
Scamurra evened the score at 1-1 with a power-play goal at 11:21 of the second period. Caroline Harvey’s shot from the blue line set up the scoring chance. Megan Keller also recorded an assist on the play.
“The whole power play our D were getting pucks through, that was a consistent thing that was happening,” Scamurra said. “I knew my job was to park in front of the net and make sure she couldn’t see the puck and I think that’s how it ended up becoming a rebound.”
Alex Carpenter almost gave the United States a one-goal advantage on a two-on-one opportunity shortly after the game-tying goal, but her shot was skillfully pushed aside by Maschmeyer’s pad. Canada was outshot 15-3 in the middle frame.
“We started paying attention to the finer details of the game and those finer details ultimately led to us playing better in the second period,” USA captain Kendall Coyne Schofield said. “We have an opportunity to watch the film, learn from it, pick apart those details. Look at what we did well, look at what we didn’t do well, and learn as a group and move forward. Not the result we wanted but we get to learn from it.”
Clark gave Canada a 2-1 edge with a rising shot from the top of the left circle at 5:05 of the third period. She would also register an empty-net goal in the closing seconds.
Sarah Fillier opened the scoring when she collected a rebound on the power play at 13:39 of the first period. Rebecca Johnston redirected Erin Ambrose’s shot from the point to create the opportunity.
It was the first meeting between two of the world’s top two ranked teams since Canada’s 3-2 overtime victory in the gold medal game of the women’s world championships in Calgary, Alberta, on Aug. 31.
“The best part is we have them eight more times,” Coyne Schofield said. “We didn’t get the result we wanted today, I think we have an awesome opportunity to learn from this game, learn from our mistakes, learn from the things we did well and take that into Hartford on Monday. We have a lot to learn from and that’s the best part.”
Coyne Schofield skated in her 150th appearance in a Team USA uniform, including at the senior, U22 and U18 level. She joined Hilary Knight as the only two active USWNT players with 150-plus Team USA appearances. Brianna Decker sits closely behind at 140.
The U.S. continues the My Why Tour, Monday against Canada in Hartford, Connecticut at 7:00 p.m. ET. The game against Canada will be televised live in the United States on NHL Network.