BRAMPTON, Ontario – The U.S. Women’s National Team tallied five unanswered goals to defeat Czechia, 6-2, in its third preliminary round game of the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship Sunday at the CAA Centre.
With the win, Team USA moves to 3-0-0-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L) in preliminary-round play at the tournament. Monday’s matchup against Canada, who is also undefeated in competition, will determine the winner of Group A entering Thursday’s quarterfinal round. Puck drop against the Canadians is set for 7 p.m. ET live on NHL Network.
“I think everybody played really well,” said John Wroblewski (Neenah, Wis.), head coach of the 2023 U.S. Women’s National Team. “That’s the basis point for a good team, so it was good for us to get a victory like this while facing adversity.”
The U.S. opened the game’s scoring at the 7:37 mark of the first period when Abbey Murphy (Evergreen Park, Ill.) rushed into the offensive zone and dished it to the left to Megan Keller (Farmington Hills, Mich.), who slipped it past the Czech netminder to give Team USA an early 1-0 lead.
However, Czechia quickly answered a little more than a minute later with a power-play goal from Denisa Krizova to tie the game at 1-1. Czechia then held a brief 2-1 lead before Hayley Scamurra (Getzville, N.Y.) tied the game at 2-2 with 3:46 left in the first period on a backhander following a pass from Kelley Pannek (Plymouth, Minn.) on the right boards.
Lacey Eden (Annapolis, Md.) gave the U.S. a 3-2 lead 45 seconds into the second period when she stole the puck behind the net on an aggressive forecheck and wrapped it between the legs of Czechia goaltender Blanka Skodova. Eden’s goal, the game-winner, is also her first score of the 2023 Women’s World Championship.
Tessa Janecke (Orangeville, Ill.) notched her first Women’s World Championship goal of her career when she knocked a loose puck out of the air and into the net with 9:18 remaining in the second period to give Team USA a 4-2 lead. Taylor Heise (Lake City, Minn.) helped set up the play by winning a battle for a loose puck behind the net that Janecke eventually swatted in. Heise leads the United States with five assists through three games.
The U.S. penalty kill unit was also strong in the second period, killing off three power-play opportunities for Czechia to help Team USA take a 4-2 lead into the third. In fact, the U.S. finished the game 11-for-12 on the penalty kill, including a flawless 7-for-7 in the third period.
U.S. captain Hilary Knight (Sun Valley, Idaho) scored her second goal of the tournament 1:22 into the third period when she redirected a shot from Alex Carpenter to extend the U.S. advantage to 5-2.
Abby Roque (Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.) next made it 6-2 with 11:09 remaining in the game with a short-handed goal after forcing a turnover while on the penalty kill.
Aerin Frankel (Chappaqua, N.Y.) made 22 saves in goal for the U.S, picking up her second win of the 2023 Women’s World Championship.
Notes: Tessa Janecke was named U.S. Player of the Game …Team USA outshot Czechia29-24…The U.S. was 0-for-3 on the power play, and 11-for-12 on the penalty kill.