CALGARY, Alberta – The U.S. Women’s National Team defeated the Russian Olympic Committee 6-0 in its lone pre-tournament matchup ahead of the 2021 International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship at Winsport Arena this afternoon.
“It’s hard to describe just how amazing it feels to play a game,” said Joel Johnson (White Bear Lake, Minn.), head coach of the 2021 U.S. Women’s National Team. “I think you could feel the excitement from every player just to get back out on the ice in a game situation, but to then have a nice solid start like that is always a positive. I’m really excited to see what this team is capable of going forward in this tournament. We’re going to enjoy it today and then we’re back at it tomorrow getting ready for Switzerland on Friday.”
Team USA opened the scoring with less than a minute into the game. The play initiated with Kendall Coyne Schofield (Palos Heights, Ill.) forcing a turnover and then the puck found the tape of Hilary Knight (Sun Valley, Idaho). From behind the net, Knight made a quick backhand pass to Brianna Decker (Dousman, Wis.) who was waiting at the edge of the crease to tap in the first goal of the game, 35 seconds in. The U.S. remained in control for the majority of the first half of the frame. The first scoring opportunity for the ROC came with less than 13 minutes left in the period, but U.S. goaltender Alex Cavallini (Delafield, Wis.) made a kick save to keep U.S. in the lead.
With one minute to play in the first, the U.S. forced an offensive zone turnover off a rogue pass from the R.O.C. goaltender Valeria Merkusheva and the U.S. regained control in the zone. Merkusheva got a piece of an initial shot from Jesse Compher (Northbrook, Ill.), but Hayley Scamurra (Getzville, N.Y.) was waiting on the doorstep to give the U.S. a two-goal lead heading into the first intermission.
Minutes ticked away in the second period with no chances from either side until the 13:49 mark. Knight kept the puck in the offensive zone and dished it off to Alex Carpenter (North Reading, Mass.) who then got the puck on the stick of Caroline Harvey (Salem, N.H.). Harvey took a hard shot from the slot and Merkusheva made the initial save, but the puck trickled into the goal to give the U.S. a 3-0 lead.
The U.S. kept the pressure on in the third as Kelly Pannek (Plymouth, Minn.) converted on a 5-on-3 power play and Savannah Harmon (Downers Grove, Ill.) tallied a goal to put Team USA's lead up to five. Decker added her second goal of the game as time was winding down to account for the 6-0 final.
Cavallini and Nicole Hensley (Lakewood, Colo.) shared time in net for the U.S. and combined to stop all 15 shots.
The U.S. opens preliminary round play on Friday, Aug. 20 against Switzerland at 9:30 p.m. ET. That game, along with every U.S. tournament game, will be televised live in the United States on NHL Network.
NOTES: The U.S. outshot the Russian Olympic Committee, 47-15 … Johnson is serving as head coach of the 2021-22 U.S. Women’s National Team, alongside assistant coaches Brian Pothier (New Bedford, Mass.), Courtney Kennedy (Woburn, Mass.) and goaltending coach Alli Altmann (St. Paul, Minn.) … The U.S. has won the last five IIHF Women’s World Championships and have captured gold a total of nine times (2005, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019), including eight of the last nine tournaments … Team USA is 76-5-5-9-2 (W-OTW-OTL-L-T) in 97 career games and has outscored opponents 628-138 … For more information about the tournament, click here.
Lede and first paragraph here
Rest of game day preview goes here
Highlights go here
Photo gallery goes here
Game Notes and lines go here
Game stats link goes here