The U.S. Women’s National Team (5-0-0-0/W-OTW-OTL-L) will meet Russia in the semifinals of the 2019 IIHF Women’s World Championship tonight. Puck drop is set for 8 p.m. local time/1 p.m. ET.
Tonight’s game against Russia marks the U.S.’s sixth game of the 2019 IIHF Women’s Worlds at Metro Areena in Espoo. All U.S. games are televised live on NHL Network for the first time ever this year, and fans can tune in and follow along with @USAHockey for live game updates.
AN INCREDIBLE ACCOMPLISHMENT
In tonight’s game, Hilary Knight (Sun Valley, Idaho) will overtake USWNT alums Jenny Potter and Angela Ruggiero for the most all-time games played at the WWC by an American player with today marking her 51st start. The previous mark held by Potter and Ruggiero was 50. Her 10 tournament appearances also tie those two for the most ever, with Bellamy close behind with nine. Knight is also three goals away from tying Cammi Granato as the leading scorer in WWC history, with Granato’s record holding at 44.
FLASHBACK TO PRELIMS AGAINST RUSSIA
Kendall Coyne Schofield (Palos Heights, Ill.) and Lee Stecklein (Roseville, Minn.) each scored twice, and 15 more members of Team USA reached the score sheet as the U.S. downed Russia, 10-0, in its final preliminary-round game of the 2019 IIHF Women’s World Championship. Stecklein’s first goal marked her first IIHF goal in a USA sweater in her 43rd start on the world stage, which includes two Olympic Winter Games. Alex Rigsby (Delafield, Wis.) got the call in net for the U.S., earning her third win of the tournament in shutout fashion after stopping 12 Russian attempts.
SERIES vs. RUSSIA
With its win on Tuesday included, the U.S. owns a spotless record over Russia in IIHF WWC play, having won all 14 of its previous match-ups and outscored its opponent 130-8. Ten of those match-ups came in the preliminary round, while four were semifinal meetings. The last time these two teams squared off in the semifinals was at the 2016 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Kamloops, British Columbia. Six different U.S. players scored, including two-goal performances by Knight, Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson (Grand Forks, N.D.) and Kelli Stack (Brooklyn Heights, Ohio), to lead the U.S. Women’s National Team to a 9-0 victory
USWNT IN THE SEMIFINALS
The U.S. has only fallen once in the semifinal round of the WWC and that was against Canada on April 10, 2009. Despite a 33-save effort by Molly Schaus, the U.S. was edged by its northern rival, 2-1. Because the U.S. had already earned a bid into the gold-medal game, the loss did not matter. Team USA would go on to claim gold against Canada two days later, winning 4-1.
Cayla Barnes (Eastvale, Calif.), Coyne Schofield and Knight all enter tonight’s game on a five-game scoring streak. With five goals and three assists for eight total points, Coyne Schofield stands tied with one other skater for the tournament scoring lead, while Knight sits two points back. Barnes is the second-highest scorer among all tournament defenders with her two goals and four assists for six total points. With points in all games except for the U.S.’s 3-2 win over Canada in the prelims, Alex Carpenter (North Reading, Mass.) is the only other U.S. skater in the tournament’s top-10 for scoring at this stage with two goals, five assists for seven points.
It should also be noted that Coyne Schofield’s unassisted goal in the quarterfinals against Japan marked her 50th career point at the WWC (23G, 27A) and she also sits one goal away from her 50th goal scored in IIHF play. Carpenter also earned her 50th IIHF point against Japan, standing now at 29G, 21A all-time in IIHF play. Brianna Decker (Dousman, Wis.) is also two assists away from tying Krissy Wendell and Jenny Potter for the all-time assists record for an American-born player at the WWC. The record currently holds at 38. And finally, Rigsby could also be closing in on a milestone, as she is one win away from tying the all-time WWC record for wins by a goaltender in a single tournament. The record is four.
All U.S. games televised live on NHL Network
Games will be held at Metro Areena
|Thu., April 4||Finland
|Espoo, Finland||W, 6-2||NHL Network|
|Sat., April 6||Canada
|Espoo, Finland||W, 3-2||NHL Network|
|Sun., April 7||Switzerland
|Espoo, Finland||W, 8-0||NHL Network|
|Tue., April 9||Russia
|Espoo, Finland||W, 10-0||NHL Network|
|Thu., April 11||Japan
|Espoo, Finland||W, 4-0||NHL Network|
|Sat., April 13||Russia
|Espoo, Finland||W, 8-0||NHL Network|
|Sun., April 14||Finland
|Espoo, Finland||W, 2-1 (SO)||NHL Network|