Canada tops US in SO to win Four Nations Cup
KAMLOOPS, British Columbia (AP) Brianne Jenner is making a habit of scoring big goals against the United States.
Nine months after kick-starting a comeback victory in the gold-medal game at the Sochi Olympics, Jenner scored the only goal of the shootout, and Canada beat the United States 3-2 to win the final of the Four Nations Cup women's hockey tournament on Saturday night.
After an exciting 4-on-4 overtime period that included power plays and plenty of chances for both teams, Jenner roofed a backhand in the second round of the shootout before Genevieve Lacasse sealed it with saves on Brianna Decker and Hilary Knight.
''It's always extremely intense,'' Jenner said. ''We take every game against them really seriously. They're our rivals and we don't want to drop a game to them.''
This was the first final between these teams since the gold medal game in Sochi in February.
''I guess it's becoming a typical Canada-U.S. game in women's hockey - just a real exciting game,'' Canada coach Doug Derraugh said. ''A real tough, hard-fought game. Back and forth, both teams had great chances. What more can you ask for?''
Jennifer Wakefield scored twice in regulation for Canada, and Lacasse stopped 33 shots.
Knight and Decker had goals for the United States, and Molly Schaus made 26 saves.
''What an awesome thing for women's hockey,'' U.S. coach Ken Klee said. ''It was a fantastic hockey game. Both teams played well, both teams had chances, both teams moved. It was just an awesome hockey game.
''There's some disappointment. Losing is no fun and we're not satisfied with it but we played our hearts out. At the end, if you play your hearts out, you have nothing to hang your head about.''
Canada has won the Four Nations Cup 14 times - including last year's event in Lake Placid, New York. The United States owns the other five titles.
Canada also beat the United States 3-2 in the round-robin portion on Wednesday.
''Every time we play the Canadians it's going to be a one-goal differential,'' Decker said. ''It didn't go in our favor tonight (but) we're learning from it.
''Coach just said there's no such thing as moral victories, but it's a learning experience.''
The top two teams in the women's game brought vastly different rosters to Kamloops than the ones that took the ice in Russia nine months ago. Both programs are looking to develop younger players with an eye toward the 2015 women's world hockey championship and the 2018 Olympics.
Hayley Wickenheiser, Jayna Hefford, Caroline Ouellette and Gillian Apps were among the veterans not taking part in the tournament for Canada. There were 11 Olympians who stayed home for the American team.
Tied 2-2 after two periods, the United States came close to taking the lead three minutes into the third when captain Alex Carpenter fired a shot off the post behind Lacasse.
Canada appeared to go ahead at 9:07 when Natalie Spooner buried a rebound, but the play had been whistled dead on a delayed penalty.
Canada's Bailey Bram had a great chance with under two minutes to go off a scramble in front as her shot from the side of the net slid through Schaus, but it went just wide of the opposite post.
The hosts had another opportunity when captain Haley Irwin was hauled down by Megan Bozek with 25 seconds left in regulation, but the Canadians were unable to capitalize.
Down 1-0 after the first, the Americans tied it just 50 seconds into the second when Decker moved down the right side and fired a shot that got inside the post for her second goal of the tournament.
Knight gave the U.S. its first lead at 9:48 on a breakaway with her third goal at the Four Nations tournament after jumping on a bad turnover from Jocelyne Larocque.
Canada was awarded a penalty shot with just over four minutes left in the second when Jillian Saulnier was brought down on a short-handed breakaway, but she lost control of the puck and didn't get a shot on goal.
Wakefield got the goal Canada needed when she snapped in her second of the night and third overall after taking a pass from Spooner from the corner with 2:10 left in the second.
Canada took a 1-0 lead at 15:46 of a physical and fast-paced first period on the power play when Tara Watchorn blasted a high one-timer from the point that Wakefield tipped past Schaus.
The U.S. players and head coach Ken Klee protested that the goal should have been disallowed because Wakefield's stick was above the crossbar - even pointing at the big screen above the ice surface - but the call on the ice stood. There is no video review at the tournament.
In the third-place game earlier Saturday, Sweden scored with less than four minutes to go in regulation against Finland before winning 2-1 in overtime.
Jenni Asserholt scored exactly nine minutes into overtime for Sweden after Emma Nordin tied it with 3:33 left in the third period. The goals were the first two of the tournament for the Swedes, who got 27 saves from Kim Martin Hasson.
Michelle Karvinen scored in the second, and Eveliina Suonpaa made 14 stops for Finland, which didn't allow a shot in the first period.