TAMPA, Fla. – The United States Women’s National Team took on the Tampa Bay Lightning alumni in a scrimmage at AMALIE Arena on Sunday evening.
With the United States training in Tampa leading up to the Four Nations Cup and the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, the friendly scrimmage was played after the conclusion of a preseason exhibition between the Lightning and the Florida Panthers.
Before the preseason contest, Hannah Brandt, Meghan Duggan and Emily Pfalzer opened the festivities by taking part in the pre-game ceremonial puck drop, while members of Team USA signed autographs during intermissions.
Once the Lightning and Panthers wrapped up their contest, Lightning fans were invited to stay in their seats to watch the scrimmage. Tampa Bay showed support for the Americans even against the hometown Bolts.
“We’re kind of the home team too,” Hilary Knight joked.
Going up against the Americans was a veteran lineup, featuring seven players from the Lighting’s 2004 Stanley Cup-winning team, including Dave Andreychuk and Vincent Lecavalier.
Team USA generated chances against the Lightning alumni, as Annie Pankowski had a shot ring off the right post and Kelly Pannek fired a shot wide on a penalty shot, but the Lightning alumni took a 1-0 lead after one period on a goal by Vinny Prospal.
The Lightning alums held on to win, but not before Dani Cameranesi and Hannah Brandt executed a beautiful 2-on-1, with Brandt finishing the feed to put the Americans on the board late in the contest.
After the game, Andreychuk and Prospal had nothing but praise for Team USA.
“There were some good players, some fast players,” Prospal said afterwards. “Hopefully it was a good scrimmage game for them.”
The skill of the United States was not lost on members of the Lightning, many of whom retired several years ago.
“Hopefully the fans could see how good these women are,” Andreychuk, captain of the 2004 Stanley Cup team said.
Hockey fans in the Tampa Bay area will have plenty more opportunities to see the Americans as they prepare for the next two major international competitions.
The Four Nations Cup, a tournament featuring the Americans, Canada, Finland and Sweden is set get underway at the beginning of November. The United States opens the competition on Nov. 7 against Finland at Florida Hospital Center Ice in Wesley Chapel.
The Americans will hope to get another chance to win on the ice at AMALIE Arena, as the third-place game and the tournament championship will take place there on Nov. 12.
Immediately following the conclusion of the Four Nations Cup, the United States will turn their attention to 2018 Olympic Winter Games set to take place in February.