LAKE PLACID - Canada edged the U.S. women's hockey team by a score of 4-2 Wednesday night in the Four Nations Cup at the 1980 Herb Brooks Arena.
Canada's Natalie Spooner's power-play goal with less than four minutes left in the game broke a 2-2 tie. Spooner and her teammates were able to take advantage of the Americans being down two players due to penalties. Both were delay of game calls.
"They hurt us dramatically," U.S. coach Katey Stone said of the penalties. "That's on us. That kind of penalty, there's no judgment call to it and we've got to find other ways of getting out of our defensive end. We hemmed ourselves in. One penalty and then another penalty.
American forward Hilary Knight (21) skates to the puck amidst a crowd Wednesday night at the 1980 Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid. Knight and her American teammates fell 4-2 to Canada.
Mike Lynch/Lake Placid News
"They took advantage of that and put us in a position where still had another penalty to kill. Very difficult to pull the goaltender and get something going down the stretch."
Spooner's goal came about seven minutes after American forward Lyndsey Fry tied the game at 2-2, giving the Americans hope for a late rally over a team that has beaten them twice in the last month.
"That was all Annie Pankowski and Jocelyne Lamoureux. They set that play up beautifully," Fry said. "Annie just worked hard getting to the corner, Joce getting to her spot behind the net and just me being in the right place at the right time."
Four Nations Cup
At Herb Brooks Arena,
United States 10, Sweden 0
Canada 3, Finland 1
Finland 2, Sweden 0
Canada 4, United States 2
Canada vs. Sweden, 3:30 p.m.
Finland vs. United States, 7 p.m.
Third-place game, 3:30 p.m.
Championship game, 7 p.m.
The right place was directly in front of the net, where she easily slapped the puck past Canadian goalie Genevieve Lacasse.
Overall, Lacasse ended the night with 21 saves while American goalie Jessie Vetter had 25 saves. Vetter had already been pulled late in the third period when Canada scored its final goal.
Canada got on the scoreboard in the first period with a goal from Haley Irwin. American Kelli Stack then scored a power-play goal to even the score at 1.
In the second period, Canada's Melodi Daoust scored a power-play goal to give her team the lead until Fry eventually tied the game in the third period.
"I think at the end, overall, we battled. We played our hearts out there at the end," Fry said. "I think they are a great team and to beat them, we're going to have to play three solid periods of hockey. Every shift we're out there, we're going to have to battle."
This was the third time that these teams have met this season and the third time that Canada has won. The teams are scheduled to play another four times before the Sochi Winter Olympics in February.
Stone said that in order to beat Canada, her team will have to come out faster and play better earlier.
"Our game is pressure: speed, pressure, quickness with the puck and we just didn't show up to do that consistently until the third period," Stone said. "We want to start faster than we did. We want to put more pressure on Canada, well before the third period starts.
"We held on to the puck too long. We didn't make the plays that were there. We tried to make it more difficult on ourselves tonight, and I think we're overthinking this a little bit and trying to make this a much more complicated game than it needs to be."
The Americans return to action at 7 p.m. Friday when they play Finland. Both the Americans and Finland are 1-1 in the tournament. The U.S. and Finland have both beaten Sweden while losing to Canada. The winner of the U.S. and Finland contest will play Canada in the championship game at 7 p.m. Saturday.