U.S.-Canada Rivalry Series

AP Images

Women’s hockey looks to keep momentum after Rivalry Series

4 Comments

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Women’s hockey has been in the spotlight the past couple weeks with the Rivalry Series and the NHL’s All-Star weekend.

It’s valuable exposure in a non-Olympic year, and the big challenge is trying to sustain the momentum.

With the five-game series between the United States and Canada concluding on Saturday and progress toward a viable league at a standstill, the next big event won’t happen until March 31, when the World Championships begin in Canada.

“The last few weeks have been special for players and fans but hopefully these opportunities continue to build,” said U.S. forward Hillary Knight, who had three goals in the series. “You can get on a treadmill and run until you are blue in the face or get on a line and sprint back and forth but there is nothing like playing in games and being in game shape. It’s challenging but every single day we know what our responsibilities are.”

The National Women’s Hockey League has five teams in the U.S., but the top American and Canadian players are boycotting because they don’t believe it is financially viable. The Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association was formed last year and has held a couple showcases for players to remain in game shape. One is scheduled for Philadelphia this month and plans remain in the works for another in Arizona before the World Championships.

The players who took part in the NHL All-Star Skills event and 3-on-3 exhibition game were all members of the PWHPA. But NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has said he isn’t interested in starting a women’s league while one is still operating.

“We all love this game so much to not figure it out and grind through this year to leave this game better than we entered it,” U.S. forward Kendall Coyne Schofield said. “You soak in the moments you’re together because more times than not you’re alone and you’re passing to the boards or you’re passing to a little rubber band that’s passing back to you.”

While a new league might be at least a couple years away, one way to increase exposure might be extending the length of the Rivalry Series. It was three games last year and five games this year. Players on both teams said they would welcome going to seven games next year.

Each of the games in this year’s series were televised in the U.S. and Canada, which also helps with getting increased exposure.

“We’re definitely trying to make the most of the exposure,” Canada forward Blayre Turnbull said. “We only get on television three to five times a year and it is about finding more outlets. We don’t get the luxury of playing in a league or getting two or three games a week.”

Saturday’s finale at the Honda Center drew 13,320, which is the most to view the national team in the U.S. It surpassed the previous mark of 10,158 for a 2002 game against Canada in Detroit.

Molly Schaus – a former U.S. goaltender and two-time Olympian – was the driving force behind ticket sales and getting the game in Southern California.

Coyne Schofield said that the crowd and game, won by the U.S. 4-3 in overtime, was a harbinger of future games on a bigger stage.

“Tonight the Ducks set the tone and proved to the rest of the NHL clubs that you can host a women’s hockey game in your building and sell it,” she said. “Molly proved to a lot of people that didn’t believe this building could hold 13,000 for women’s hockey.”

The U.S. will go into the World Championships with momentum after winning four of five against their rival as well as being the defending champion. Canada remains in a bit of a transition after Troy Ryan took over as coach last month. The U.S. has won eight of the last 11 against Canada.

“We’re a confident team. No doubt about it,” U.S. coach Bob Corkum said.

Bozek’s power-play goal in OT lifts U.S. to win over Canada

Getty Images

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Megan Bozek provided a perfect ending to the Rivalry Series for the United States.

The defenseman’s power-play goal 42 seconds into overtime gave the U.S. a 4-3 victory over Canada on Saturday night in front of the largest crowd to watch a women’s national team game in America.

The game drew 13,320, surpassing the previous mark of 10,158 for a 2002 game against Canada in Detroit. It also gave U.S. four wins in the five games against its heated rivals.

”It seems like most our games end with some kind of power play, a scrum and a goal,” U.S. forward Amanda Kessel said. ”We had a lot of space with (Megan) Keller and Bozek up top. I’m really happy for her that she found the back of the net.”

Bozek had a goal and an assist for the U.S., which was down 3-2 after two periods before rallying. They tied it up nine minutes into the third when Monique Lamoureux-Morando deflected in Emily Matheson’s shot from the point.

Hilary Knight and Dani Cameranesi also scored for the U.S., and Emily Matheson had a pair of assists. Alex Cavallini made 17 saves to pick up her second win in the series.

Jill Saulnier had a goal and an assist, while Loren Gabel and Melodie Daoust also scored for Canada. Genevieve Lacasse made 26 saves.

”What we learned from this series is there are still some positives and we have to keep tweaking certain aspects of our game,” Daoust said.

U.S. coach Bob Corkum, who was part of the first Anaheim Mighty Ducks team, said his team was sloppy in the neutral zone the first 40 minutes before making adjustments.

”We were more clean out of the zone in the third period and let most of our work be done in the offensive zone,” he said. ”Our blue line was solid. Alex weathered the storm and the team helped her out until she got her feet under her.”

Canada coach Troy Ryan thought his squad came out tentative before settling in.

”I told them we have nothing to lose and to be aggressive,” he said.

Both teams scored their first goal 24 seconds apart in the first period. Hilary Knight opened the scoring at 2:37 with a deflection of Bozek’s shot from the point. Knight finished as the leading goal-scorer in the series with three and tied for the most U.S. points with four.

Canada quickly tied it with Saulnier’s shot from slot off a pass from Rebecca Johnston.

Canada grabbed a 2-1 advantage with 3:28 remaining in the first when Gabel finished a two-on-one by beating Cavallini on her glove side. Cameranesi evened it with 1:36 left with a shot that got past Lacasse on her short side.

Daoust put Canada back on top 2:56 into the second period with a backhand from in front of the net. The goal was set up when Jessie Eldridge forced a turnover behind the U.S. net and fed it to Daoust.

NOTES: Alex Carpenter also had four points in the series for the U.S. (two goals, two assists). … Annie Pankowski, who grew up in Laguna Hills, California, and played in the Ducks girls youth hockey programs, had an assist on Lamoureux-Morando’s goal. … The U.S. outscored Canada 15-9 in the series.

Knight leads U.S. over Canada 3-1 in Rivalry Series

AP Images
2 Comments

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Hilary Knight and her U.S. teammates carried a decade-old grudge into Game 4 of their Rivalry Series with Canada, and settled an old score.

The Americans earned a 3-1 win over Canada and took a 3-1 lead in the five-game series.

Knight set up Hayley Scamurra for the winning goal in the third period and added an empty-netter to seal the victory, quieting the pro-Canada crowd at Rogers Arena.

Knight said that her mind was on her experience at the 2010 Winter Olympics, when Canada’s women won gold the last time the two teams faced each other in Vancouver.

”Had some back and forth after the gold-medal loss with the fans up here,” she said. ”We were told to go back to our country and die, so I took it pretty personally.

”It’s salt from 10 years ago, but obviously a celebration. There’s a lot of passion and I think that’s what brings out the best of both teams.”

Dani Cameranesi also scored for the U.S. Jocelyne Larocque scored for Canada.

Goalie Katie Burt, making her first start for the U.S. national team in more than a year, recorded the win in net.

The teams were playing for the second time in three nights after Canada got its first win of the series, a 3-2 overtime victory on Monday in Victoria. The U.S. opened the series with a 4-1 win in Hartford, Connecticut, and and a 2-1 win in Moncton, New Brunswick, in December.

Troy Ryan, who took over as Canada’s head coach in January, kept his lines the same on Wednesday after getting the win two days earlier in his first game behind the bench. Canada’s only change came in net, where Emerance Maschmeyer took over for Ann-Renee Desbiens.

”It’s a work in progress, right?” said Ryan. ”We’re trying to have a little bit of a shift to offense, and that takes some time.

”I still saw some good things out there tonight. They’re trying to implement some things that we’ve been working on in practice. As we work on the details, I think the execution will follow.”

U.S. coach Bob Corkum did some line juggling after Monday’s loss, and his speedy new combination of Kendall Coyne Schofield, Brianna Decker and Cameranesi looked dangerous early.

The trio combined to open the scoring at 8:19 of the first period. After a shot attempt by Decker bounced off the end boards, Cameranesi bounced the puck off the back of the skate of Maschmeyer and into the net.

Three minutes and 21 seconds later, Canada evened the score. From behind the goal line, Melodie Daoust fed the puck to Jocelyne Larocque, who beat Burt high to her blocker side.

The 22-year-old Burt made her first start for the U.S. since a 4-3 loss in a Rivalry Series game in Toronto in Feb. 2019. Nicole Hensley started in the loss in Victoria.

The teams remained deadlocked through the second period, trading power-play opportunities for much of the middle frame. After 40 minutes, Canada was 0 for 5 with the man advantage, while the U.S. was 0 for 3.

The Americans took a 2-1 lead with 12:07 left in the third when Scamurra beat Maschmeyer high to her stick side off a feed from Knight from behind the net.

”It was a pass from behind the net to the other post,” said Maschmeyer. ”Right out in front and a quick shot. It just caught me.

”I think it was a tough game. It’s always easier to play in games when you get a ton of shots. I think at both ends, there weren’t a lot of shots, kind of some quality chances.

”We need to move forward here.”

Knight added her empty netter with 1:50 left.

”It’s hard to put into words,” said Larocque of the fan support the Canadian team has received during its two games in British Columbia. ”It’s amazing and I feel so proud to be from such an amazing country that supports us and loves us, and we love them.”

Even with the series outcome decided in favor of the U.S., there should be no shortage of emotion for the final game of the series on Saturday in Anaheim.

Game 5 in Anaheim on Saturday, where the Canadians will have more work to do.

”I don’t think we would ever go into a game against the U.S. and treat it like an exhibition game,” said Ryan. ”It’s a rivalry and it’s still part of the Rivalry Series.

”Our focus shifts from trying to win the Rivalry Series to trying to prepare for the World Championship, so I think the intensity and the mentality will still be there. It’ll be a great game.”

Canada beats US in OT, pulls within 2-1 in Rivalry Series

VICTORIA, British Columbia — Victoria Bach scored 3:22 into overtime to lift Canada over the United States on Monday night in the third game of the Rivalry Series.

Bach’s backhander off a 2-on-1 pass from Blayre Turnbull beat goalie Nicole Hensley, who faced a Canadian onslaught in the extra frame.

The Canada-U.S. Rivalry Series was at full intensity. Canada’s Brigette Lacquette tied it for Canada with just under seven minutes left in the third period with a wrist shot from just inside the blue line during an intense scramble for the puck.

Canada had a two-player power-play advantage for more than a minute and Lacquette’s goal came with the Americans down one player but facing fierce pressure from the Canadians, who held possession for much of the penalties.

The teams traded goals in the second, with Brianne Jenner scoring short-handed for Canada early in the period. Jenner had a clear breakaway and scored when she bobbled the puck and it squeezed through Hensley’s pads.

Hilary Knight scored on the power play for the Americans with a blast from the right face-off circle the 12:01. It was her 200th career point with the U.S. team.

This was coach Troy Ryan’s first game behind the bench after replacing former coach Perry Pearn last month.

The Americans won the first two games last December in Hartford, Connecticut and Moncton, New Brunswick.

The teams play next in Vancouver on Wednesday, and the series wraps up Saturday in Anaheim, California.

U.S. women get 2 early goals, go ahead 2-0 in Canada series

MONCTON, New Brunswick — Abby Roque and Alex Carpenter scored early goals, and the United States women’s hockey team held on to beat Canada 2-1 in the second game of their five-game Rivalry Series.

Roque found the net 2:43 into the first period on the Americans’ first shot on goal – beating Canadian goaltender Ann-Renee Desbiens stick-side.

Carpenter extended the lead at 14:09 of the first. She got a quick pass from Kelly Pannek through the crease and easily found the back of the net.

Canada got on the scoreboard midway through a chippy second period when Ann-Sophie Bettez deflected the puck past American goaltender Aerin Frankel.

”The second period, I thought we got a little momentum. We got the goal and the game started to change,” Canada coach Perry Pearn said. ”Certainly I thought we controlled the third period. But you’ve got to be so careful against the Americans. You can’t give them odd-man rushes and we did too much of that tonight.”

The U.S. captured the series opener 4-1 on Saturday in Hartford, Connecticut.

USA Hockey and Hockey Canada established the Rivalry Series last season to further showcase the women’s national teams. Canada won the inaugural series, 2-1.

The series continues with games on Feb. 3 in Victoria, British Columbia, Feb. 5 in Vancouver and Feb. 8 in Anaheim, California.