BRAMPTON, Ontario – The U.S. Women’s National Team earned a 7-1 victory in its opening game of the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship at the CAA Centre on Wednesday. Alex Carpenter (North Reading, Mass.) finished with two goals and one assist, while Hilary Knight (Sun Valley, Idaho) notched three assists.
“It’s nice to get the first win of the tournament,” said John Wroblewski (Neenah, Wis.), head coach of the 2023 U.S. Women’s National Team. “I thought up and down the lineup we had strong skaters, and I think that has to do with our mix of veterans and youth, our exuberance, and it is an emphasis point. We want to make sure we’re maxing out our game every shift. That’s a credit to the team and the individuals.”
Team USA responded quickly from an early 1-0 deficit when Megan Keller (Farmington Hills, Mich.) fired a shot past Japan goalie Miyuu Masuhara just 1:15 after Japan had opened the game’s scoring at the 8:14 mark. Tessa Janecke (Orangeville, Ill.) and Taylor Heise (Lake City, Minn.) earned assists on Keller’s goal. The assist was Janecke’s first point as a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team.
The U.S. took a 2-1 lead with 5:16 left in the first period when Carpenter slammed home a rebound on the team’s first power-play opportunity. Cayla Barnes (Eastvale, Calif.) got the play started by firing a shot from the top of the right circle that Knight attempted to redirect in before Carpenter pounced on the loose puck.
Carpenter kept it going for Team USA in the second period, scoring her second goal of the game at 1:52 into the frame. Heise then fired home a blast just 51 seconds later to make it a 4-1 game.
Hannah Bilka (Coppell, Texas) extended the U.S. lead to 5-1 in the third period when she beat Riko Kawaguchi five-hole with 14:53 remaining. Caroline Harvey (Salem, N.H.) notched her second assist of the game on the play, while Haley Winn (Rochester, N.Y.) earned her first career U.S. Women’s National Team point with the helper.
Abbey Murphy (Evergreen Park, Illi.) then made it 6-1 with 5:44 to go in the final frame off an unassisted goal that saw her send a laser past Kawaguchi.
Knight capped off the scoring for Team USA with her first of the tournament at 2:51 left in the third after tipping home a shot from Winn, who picked up her second career Women’s National Team assist on the play.
Aerin Frankel (Chappaqua, N.Y.) made 12 saves in goal for the U.S.
Team USA continues preliminary-round play of the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship on Friday (April 7) against Switzerland. Puck drop is set for 11 a.m. ET and can be watched live on NHL Network.
Notes: Alex Carpenter was named Player of the Game (2G, 1A) … Team USA outshot Japan 59-13 … Team USA was 1-for-2 on the power play, and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill … Becca Gilmore, Gabbie Hughes, Tessa Janecke, Nicole LaMantia, Abbey Levy, and Haley Winn were named to the U.S. Women's National Team for the first time in international competition for the 2023 IIHF Women's World Championship. Gilmore, Hughes, Janecke and Winn all made their Worlds debuts on Wednesday ... Gilmore, Janecke and Winn all previously played for Team USA in the 2022-23 Rivalry Series.