CALGARY, Alberta – Lee Stecklein (Roseville, Minn.) scored Team USA’s lone goal as the U.S. Women’s National Team dropped its final game of the preliminary round to Canada, 5-1, at the 2021 IIHF Women’s World Championship.
The U.S. (3-0-0-1) will face the winner of the final preliminary game, either Japan or Germany, in the quarterfinals Saturday (Aug. 28) at 3:30 p.m. ET.
“Obviously not the game we were hoping for,” said Joel Johnson (White Bear Lake, Minn.), head coach of the 2021 U.S. Women’s National Team. “Canada played really well and I give most of the credit to them. By the time we generated any positive play, the game was kind of out of reach. We’re going to go back and try and fix what we can do, because we are better than what we showed tonight.”
Canada took an early lead as it tallied a goal 7:13 into play, followed by its second goal nearly seven minutes after. The U.S. had a few scoring opportunities late in the period, one of which almost cut the lead to one with 4:50 to go. Canada nearly made it a three-goal game, but U.S. netminder Alex Cavallini (Delafield, Wis.) slid across her crease to make the save as time was winding down.
Shorthanded, Brianna Decker (Dousman, Wis.) looked to add Team USA’s first goal 2:33 into the second frame. Decker took control of a mishandled puck by Canadian goaltender Ann-Renee Desbiens behind the net, but Desbiens got her stick on the puck to fan it aside. Canada went on to add three goals in a 6:18 span to take a 5-0 lead halfway through the second. Decker had another good look on net with a little over four minutes to play but couldn’t find the back of the net.
The U.S. got on the board 2:44 into the third as Stecklein sent a blast through traffic past Desbiens. Team USA played at a faster pace in the third as it outshot Canada 11-4, but Stecklein’s goal remained the only goal for the U.S. as it fell 5-1.
Cavallini started in net for the U.S., stopping 16 shots. Nicole Hensley (Lakewood, Colo.) came in for relief with 12:44 left in the second, stopping six shots.
Team USA’s quarterfinal match, along with every U.S. tournament game, will be televised live in the United States on NHL Network.
NOTES: Stecklein was named U.S. Player of the Game … Canada outshot the U.S., 27-23 … Team USA was 0-3 on the power play, while Canada was 0-2 … For more information about the tournament, click here.