WAKEFIELD NETS OT WINNER IN SERIES FINALE
EDMONTON, Alta. – Jennifer Wakefield (Pickering, Ont./Linköping HC, SWE) scored with 26 seconds to play in overtime as Canada’s National Women’s Team defeated the United States 2-1 to close out the teams’ six-game pre-Olympic series.
Natalie Spooner (Scarborough, Ont./Toronto, CWHL) set up the game-winner with a great individual effort, taking the puck from mid-ice, driving along the boards and below the goal line, before throwing the puck out front. A trailing Wakefield buried the puck home in the crease.
Marie-Philip Poulin (Beauceville, Que./Montreal, CWHL) scored in regulation for Canada. Rebecca Johnston (Sudbury, Ont./Calgary, CWHL) and Laura Fortino (Hamilton, Ont./Markham, CWHL) earned the assists.
Shannon Szabados (Edmonton, Alta./Hockey Canada) picked up her second 2-1 overtime win of the series.
After dropping the opener, Canada ran off five straight wins in the series.
The crowd of 17,468 saw Canada open the scoring late in the first period on Sunday.
Coming in, the Americans had enjoyed eight more power play chances than the Canadians. When it did have the man-advantage, Canada had struggled, converting only once in 18 opportunities.
In the series finale, the Canadian power play broke through for the first time since Game 2. Gigi Marvin and Meghan Duggan took back-to-back penalties, giving Canada a five-on-three advantage for 31 seconds.
Marvin’s penalty had just expired when Fortino fed a short pass to Poulin, whose slap shot from the top of the circle beat Maddie Rooney.
It was Poulin’s team-leading fourth goal of the series. Poulin – 4G 1A – and Meghan Agosta (Ruthven, Ont./Hockey Canada) – 2G 3A – finished tied for the team lead in scoring, with five points each.
The United States equalized with the only goal of the second period, with Hilary Knight finishing off a centering pass from Kendall Coyne.
After playing eight times this fall – the teams also met twice at the 2017 4 Nations Cup, with Canada dropping both games – there’s no love lost between the two rivals. But they will now enjoy a two-month break from each other. Canada next faces the United States on Feb. 14, 2018, in the preliminary round of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.