CANADA VS USA RIVALRY SERIES - GAME 4: USA the Aggressor in Series Clincher
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Thursday, February 6, 2020
USA 3 – CANADA 1 FINAL
VANCOUVER, BC – Defensive breakdowns and an inability to connect the second pass on breakouts spelled Canada’s demise in Vancouver Wednesday night.
Canada spent the first three minutes of the 3rd period on the penalty kill after a Jocelyne Larocque interference call carried over the intermission and Meaghan Mikkelson got called for roughing when she knocked down Brianna Decker after the whistle for an eight-second 5-on-3.
They managed to kill it off but, Canada had difficulty containing the puck in their own end and breaking out following a turnover. Canada was lacking aggression on the puck which allowed Hilary Knight and Hannah Brandt to play pitch and catch behind the Canadian net. Knight found Haley Scamurra in front for the game-winner.
Canada’s defensive woes started early in the game when a scramble in deep resulted in Dani Cameranesi throwing the puck off the back of Canadian netminder Emerance Maschmeyer’s left pad as she pushed across to make the stop. The puck trickled across the line for the opening goal.
Canada remained on their heels for the majority of the 1st period but, managed to capitalize on a fast break started by Mélodie Daoust just three minutes after the Cameranesi marker. Daoust drew all three American defenders to the right side, which left the slot wide open for Larocque to sneak down from the blue line.
Daoust found her with a beautiful pass and Larocque buried the puck past Katie Burt to tie the game.
The penalties piled up in the 2nd period but, the game really opened up for both teams. They exchanged high-danger chances, scrambling in front of their nets while trying to kill off the penalties. Multiple instances of 4-on-4 provided the extra space needed for both teams to stretch it out offensively.
Burt and Maschmeyer traded big saves and Larocque pinched in again but, hit the post.
Seven total penalties were called in the 2nd, four for the Americans and three for Canada but, no goals were scored with the advantage.
The Americans continued their aggressive forecheck in the 3rd period, while Canada continued to struggle with breakouts and possession, often coughing it up in the neutral zone or their own blue line.
Maschmeyer left her net for the extra attacker a little early and Knight had an easy empty-netter to seal it for the USA.
Some scary news for Team Canada, Captain Marie-Philip Poulin went awkwardly into the boards with Decker and tweaked her left leg. Despite being in noticeable pain, she continued to take shifts for the remainder of game. Updates to follow.
The line-juggling from Team USA seemed to work, with Knight, Brandt, and Scamurra connecting on both the game-winner and the empty-netter. Each player finished the night with two points.
With her two points, Knight's international point total increases to 202 after her goal in Game 3 notched her 200th.
The final game of the series goes Saturday night from the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA at 10pm EST. Catch the action of Game 5 on TSN.