SEATTLE – The U.S. Women’s National Team won its third straight contest against Canada with a 4-2 victory at Climate Pledge Arena on Sunday night. The win came in front of a record-setting crowd, as the 14,551 fans that packed Climate Pledge Arena marked the highest attendance on U.S. soil in Women’s National Team history.
Prior to puck drop, Hilary Knight (Sun Valley, Idaho) received a gold stick to commemorate her all-time points record in the IIHF Women’s World Championship. She then led Team USA with two goals, including the game-winner, and an assist on the opening goal within the first minute of the game.
“I think that the crowd and everybody coming out of their seats 40 seconds into the game was a script that you can’t really draw up,” said John Wroblewski (Neenah, Wis.), head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Team. “What an exciting game.
“I thought that Canada really brought it. They didn’t want to see three games in the loss column and you could tell from their leader on down that they were tremendous, but our crowd, the fans were right there the whole time. It felt great to be an American today. It was an honor to be a part of.”
Just 40 seconds into opening frame, Knight found a streaking Savannah Harmon (Downers Grove, Ill.) on a cross-ice pass, who then ripped a rising stick-side shot past Canadian netminder Ann-Renée Desbiens to give the home team a 1-0 lead.
Canada earned the first power-play opportunity of the game mid-way through the first, but the U.S. defense held strong, keeping them off the board.
With 7:49 remaining in the first stanza, Canada knotted the game at 1-1 when Marie-Philip Poulin put a rebound in the back of the net.
Team USA ended the period with a slew of offensive chances, looking to carry the momentum into the middle fame.
Less than a minute into the second Megan Keller (Farmington Hills, Mich.) sent a rebound slightly wide off the net. In the ensuing scrum for the puck behind the net, Kendall Coyne Schofield (Palos Heights, Ill.) drew a penalty to put the U.S. a skater up.
On the power play, the U.S. converted on an odd-skater rush. Coyne Schofield centered a pass to Amanda Kessel (Madison, Wis.) who then sauced a pass to Abby Roque (Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.) Roque lasered a rising slap shot into the back of the net for the 2-1 lead.
The U.S extended its lead to 3-1 with 14:16 remaining in the second when Lee Stecklein (Roseville, Minn.) found Knight for a breakaway up the middle. Knight closed in on the net, deked, and lifted a backhand shot behind Desbiens.
Canada reduced the deficit with 12:50 left in the second when Renata Fast shot a puck wide and Sarah Nurse took the rebound and put it in the back of the net to cut the U.S. lead to 3-2.
Knight extended the lead on the power play in the third for Team USA, rifling a tick-tack-toe pass five-hole to go up, 4-2, and lead the U.S. to the victory.
Netminder Nicole Hensley made 24 saves in the win, to improve to 2-0 in the series in her starts between the pipes.
NOTES: This marks the first time since 2019 the U.S. has won three straight games against Canada (April 6, 2019; December 14, 2019; December 16, 2019) … The U.S. was 2-for-6 on the power play, while Canada was 0-for-3 … The 2022-23 Rivalry Series resumes on Dec. 15 when the U.S. faces Canada in Henderson, Nev., at The Dollar Loan Center, followed by a game on Dec. 19 in Los Angeles at Crypto.com Arena. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. PT for both contests with live television coverage on NHL Network.