KAMLOOPS, British Columbia – Brianna Decker (Dousman, Wis.) netted the game-winning goal and Hilary Knight (Sun Valley, Idaho) scored twice to lead the U.S. Women’s National Team to a 3-1 third-period comeback win against Canada in its opening game of the 2016 International Ice Hockey Federation Women's World Championship. Goaltender Alex Rigsby (Delafield, Wis.) made 22 saves in the victory.
"We got past some early jitters and beared down during the course of the game," said Ken Klee, head coach of the 2016 U.S. Women’s National Team. "We earned the win and will look to get better as the tournament progresses."
Team USA was awarded two power plays in the opening ten minutes, including 1:04 of five-on-three play. The U.S. put multiple shots on goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer but was unable to convert and the first period ended at 0-0.
At 5:10 of the second stanza, Canada was whistled for tripping before sending another player to the box less than a minute later. Knight had an opportunity in close at the left post, but the Canadians killed off both penalties.
A few minutes later, Canada’s Meghan Agosta and Team USA’s Annie Pankowski (Laguna Hills, Calif.) traded chances on the rush. Rigsby and Maschmeyer both made big saves to keep the game scoreless.
Team USA’s best chance of the period came with seven minutes on the clock. Megan Bozek (Buffalo Grove, Ill.) put a point shot on net and the puck was deflected in front before banging off the post. Knight was there for the rebound attempt, but the puck was cleared away.
The third frame began with 1:04 left on a Team USA penalty. Just :14 into the period, a loose puck in the U.S. crease made its way back to Laura Fortino in the high slot, who sent the puck over a sprawled Rigsby to make it 1-0.
At 9:59, Monique Lamoureux (Grand Forks, N.D.) sent a feed to Knight, who skated into Canada’s zone and snapped a wrist shot from the left circle into the lower right corner of the net to even the score.
With 6:05 to play, Team USA took its first lead of the game during a power play opportunity. Decker buried a rebound off an initial shot by Monique Lamoureux from the point.
Knight scored an empty-netter with :19 remaining to seal the 3-1 victory.
The U.S., who is 1-0-0-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L) at this year’s event, will continue preliminary-round play at the 2016 IIHF Women’s World Championship when it takes on Finland at 6:30 p.m. ET tomorrow (March 29).
NOTES: The U.S. outshot Canada, 38-23. For complete game statistics, click here … Hilary Knight was named the U.S. Player of the Game … Reagan Carey (Colorado Springs, Colo.), USA Hockey's director of women's hockey, is the general manager of the 2016 U.S. Women's National Team. Ken Klee (Denver, Colo.) is head coach of the 2016 U.S. Women's National Team, and Brett Strot (Tampa, Fla.) and Chris Tamer (Dexter, Mich.) are assistant coaches ... The U.S. is the defending champion and has played Canada in the gold medal game in all 16 of the previous events, capturing the event's top prize a total of six times (2005, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015), including five of the last six tournaments.