Sport

Canada beat U.S. in battle of Winter Olympics women's ice hockey rivals

Canada beat U.S. in battle of Winter Olympics women's ice hockey rivals

All of this with no medal on the line, either.

Despite looking dominant throughout much of the game, the United States women's hockey team took a hard 2-1 loss to Canada in their final preliminary match. Team USA's roster looks nearly identical to the roster that beat Canada in the Women's World Hockey Championship back in April of previous year.

It could have been a mere preview of the battle for gold expected to come next week.

Canada had some shaky line changes in the first period, requiring Lacasse to stop an all-alone Hilary Knight from close range four minutes into the game. Brianne Decker hit two posts, the second in the final seconds, before punching, pushing and shoving. This was a very hard-fought game even with both teams having very little to play for.

When the Canadian team stepped onto the ice in Innsbruck, Austria the player selected to lead the squad as captain was Port Arthur hockey star Henry (Hank) Akervall, who many people will remember for his 30 year teaching career at Lakehead University and his time as a coach of the Lakehead Nor'Westers hockey team and director of athletics.

"It's a rivalry. What else would anybody expect but exactly that", he said.

Which of those was the motivating factor became apparent quickly Wednesday, a 2-1 win for Canada to earn to top seed in the tournament bracket. "I scored one goal and I was super happy to score a goal on my birthday". And this will be the first time the Americans have played their biggest rival in the Olympics since Canada stunned the United States by rallying from a 2-0 deficit to win gold at the 2014 Sochi Games with a 3-2 OT win. They dominated play for most of the game. "Absolutely nothing to do with our future".




Outshout 32-23 by Canada, the Finns had their chances. "It's just finding a way to finish those grade-A chances that we had".

The Canadians didn't sound too impressed.

"I do like where our team's at", said Schuler. Our regional athletes are also enjoying a successful Olympics so far, with Thunder Bay's Haley Irwin helping Canada win their first game in women's hockey, scoring a goal in Canada's 5-0 victory over the Olympic Athletes from Russian Federation. The official immediately signaled no goal.

After a high-tempo scoreless opening period, Canada took control in the second on a power-play goal from Meghan Agosta and another from Sarah Nurse, who found the top corner of goalie Maddie Rooney's net with a laser-like wrist shot. It had been a physical, chippy, hard-fought game that would end with the puck on the ice, just inches in front of the Canadian goal.

In 1935, the Halifax Wolverines had won the Allan Cup by defeating the Port Arthur senior hockey team and were to have represented Canada at the 1936 Olympics. Forward Laura Stacey appeared to enter the offensive zone before the puck crossed the blue line, but US head coach Robb Stauber elected not to challenge.

The Canadians also had two goals disallowed, the second midway through the third for Haley Irwin kicking the puck in off her left skate. Kendal Coyne agreed, suggesting the US would take that game 10 times out of 10. Or a few minutes later when Knight found herself alone in front of the net and couldn't get a shot off on a lovely centering pass.


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