By National Teams of Ice Hockey
Canada has once again made an impressive comeback from a 3-0 deficit to emerge victorious in the Rivalry Series against the United States for the second consecutive year.
Natalie Spooner and Emma Maltais played a pivotal role in this triumph, contributing two goals and one assist each, as Canada dominated the U.S. with a resounding 6-1 victory. This remarkable win not only secured Canada’s fourth consecutive victory in the series but also showcased their exceptional teamwork and skill. The match took place on Sunday, solidifying Canada’s position as a formidable force in international ice hockey.
Marie-Philip Poulin and Ashton Bell contributed goals for Canada as well. Sarah Nurse displayed her playmaking skills by providing three assists, while Anne-Renee Desbiens showcased her goaltending abilities with 24 saves.
Maltais expressed her thoughts on the team’s resilience and determination, emphasizing their commitment to their game plan even in challenging situations. She believes that their performance today demonstrated their strong character, and they will continue to progress forward. Being involved in the Series this year brings Maltais great excitement, especially since she wasn’t part of the comeback last year.
The U.S. emerged victorious in three consecutive matches against Canada, with scores of 3-1 on November 8th, 5-2 on November 11th, and a thrilling 3-2 overtime win on December 14th.
This impressive performance gave the U.S. a commanding 3-0 series lead. However, Canada started their comeback with a 3-2 shootout victory on December 16th, followed by a 4-2 win on Wednesday, and a convincing 3-0 win on Friday.
Spooner expressed, “The Canada-U.S. games are consistently thrilling and the kind of games that ignite your enthusiasm.” she further added, “Considering that we were trailing in the series, each game became a make-or-break situation for us.
Game 7 felt like our ultimate challenge, our pinnacle moment, similar to a gold-medal game or a Super Bowl. Hence, we were filled with anticipation for the game.”
Spooner was responsible for the solitary goal in the first period. She skillfully redirected a rebound into the net, eluding Hensley after Brianne Jenner’s shot missed its mark at 12:06 during the power play.
Poulin extended Canada’s advantage on the power play just 57 seconds into the second period, unleashing a powerful wrist shot from the point.
At 10:41, Bell extended the lead to 3-0 by capitalizing on a beautiful backhand pass from Maltais in the slot, outsmarting Hensley on the glove side.
Zumwinkle managed to put the Americans on the scoreboard with a short-handed goal at 2:31 left in the second period. However, just 58 seconds later, Spooner skillfully lifted a wrist shot over Levy for her second goal of the game.
At 4:21 into the last period, Maltais joined the action by scoring a short-handed goal, defeating Levy with a well-placed low shot during a breakaway.
Later, at 7:58, Maltais secured her second goal of the game. Spooner skillfully located her in the slot, and Maltais successfully beat Levy with a backhand shot below the pads.
Head coach Troy Ryan expressed his thoughts on the completion of the series, acknowledging the challenges it poses for player selection in the upcoming Worlds. He emphasized the significance of mounting a comeback and highlighted the positive aspect of such achievements. However, he also emphasized the need to recognize that success in the Rivalry Series does not always translate to success in the World Championship. Breaking this trend is a goal that the team aims to achieve.