Hilary Knight (Sun Valley, Idaho) scored the game-winning goal and Alex Rigsby (Delafield, Wis.) recorded a 33-save shutout as the U.S. Women's National Team topped Canada, 1-0, here tonight at the Budweiser Gardens in London to open up play in the 2019 Rivalry Series.
"This game was a battle for a full 60 minutes with both sides having great chances and great goaltending," said Bob Corkum, U.S. Women's National Team head coach. "The intensity of the rivalry was definitely on display here tonight, and we will look forward to building on this momentum Thursday in Toronto."
The U.S. Women's National Team (1-0-0-0/W-OTW-OTL-L) will face Canada in the second game of the Rivalry Series Thursday (Feb. 14). Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. ET and the game will be broadcast live in the U.S. on NHL Network.
After a physical start to the first period, Rigsby stopped a two-on-one Canadian attempt to keep things scoreless seven minutes into the game. The play materialized as Rebecca Johnston skated in and sent a centering pass under the stick of Emily Pfalzer (Buffalo, N.Y) to Ann-Sophie Bettez for the shot, but Rigsby made a glove save off Bettez's backhand.
Canada would continue to pressure the U.S. late in the first, but thanks to Rigsby's poise in net, the game went into the first intermission 0-0.
The U.S. came out in the second period with energy. Just three minutes in, Pfalzer carried the puck into the offensive zone and fired a shot on net that was turned away by Emerance Maschmeyer. Haley Scamurra (Williamsville, N.Y.) tracked down the rebound and fired another shot from the slot that was also denied.
The U.S. had another pair of great chances midway through the period. Eight minutes in, Dani Cameranesi (Plymouth, Minn.) picked up the puck off a turnover by Jocelyne Larocque in the Canadian zone and sent a wrist shot on Maschmeyer, but she was stopped. Four minutes later, Amanda Kessel (Madison, Wis.) carried the puck up the half wall and sent a pass to Megan Bozek (Buffalo Grove, Ill.), who was waiting to rip a shot from the right faceoff circle.
But with 1:28 remaining in the middle frame, the U.S. finally broke through. Cameranesi found Savannah Harmon (Downers Grove, Ill.) at the top of the left circle and she fired a shot on goal that was turned away by Maschmeyer. Following the initial save, the rebound bounced out to Knight, who was waiting on the doorstep to put home the rebound. The U.S. would carry the 1-0 lead into the final period.
The teams traded chances throughout the third period with Canada pushing to tie the game. As the clock continued to wind down, the U.S. applied pressure in the neutral zone, making it difficult for Canada to advance the puck forward.
With less than a minute remaining, Canada pulled Maschmeyer, but Rigsby stood tall in net and secured the 1-0 victory.
Rigsby made 33 saves to earn the shutout for the U.S.
NOTES: The U.S. recorded 21 shots while Canada had 33 ... Click here for complete game statistics from tonight's game ... The 2019 Rivalry Series consists of three contests between the women's national teams of both the U.S. and Canada with games Feb. 12 in London, Ontario, Feb. 14 in Toronto and Feb. 17 in Detroit. The series finale on Feb. 17 is presented by TCF Bank and will be held at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. The game will kick off the celebration of Hockey Week Across America. All three games of the Rivalry Series are televised live in the U.S. on NHL Network ... Corkum is serving as head coach of the 2018-19 U.S. Women's National Team, alongside assistant coaches Joel Johnson (White Bear Lake, Minn.) and Brian Pothier (New Bedford, Mass.), and goaltending coach Steve Thompson (Anchorage, Alaska).