KAMLOOPS, B.C. — The U.S. Women’s National Team blanked Sweden, 3-0, in its final preliminary game of the 2014 Four Nations Cup. Team USA amassed a 50-to-11 shot advantage over Sweden, and U.S. goaltender Brianne McLaughlin-Bittle (Sheffield Village, Ohio) was perfect, stopping all 11 shots, en route to victory.
Team USA opened the scoring at 5:12 of the first period on a failed Swedish breakout. Shiann Darkangelo (Brighton, Mich./Quinnipiac University) snagged the puck in the neutral zone and passed to Hilary Knight (Sun Valley, Idaho) who skated to the top of the right circle and fired a wrist shot that beat goaltender Sara Grahn to give the U.S. the early lead.
With 5:35 left in the second stanza, the U.S. doubled its lead on the power play. Cycling the puck deep in the offensive zone, Emily Pfalzer (Getzville, N.Y./Boston College) skated from the top of the slot to the center of the right circle and snuck a shot under the goaltender.
Later in the period, while shorthanded, the U.S. won an offensive-zone battle along the boards, and Brianna Decker (Dousman, Wis.) came off the right half wall, skated across the top of the goal crease and, going forehand to backhand, put the puck in the top right-hand corner of the net to make it 3-0 with 32 seconds to play in the period.
Sweden stepped up its attack in the third period, and McLaughlin-Bittle stopped all eight Swedish shots to preserve the shutout victory. She and Molly Schaus (Natick, Mass.) have now both recorded shutouts for the U.S. at the 2014 Four Nations Cup.
With today’s victory, Team USA clinched a spot in the championship matchup tomorrow (Nov. 8) against either Canada or Finland, who play later tonight. Puck drop for tomorrow’s title contest is set for 10 p.m. ET and can be seen live on FASTHockey.com.
Tag(s): Four Nations Cup