Canada vs USA for the shiny gold hardware, volume I’m not sure how many.
At first, Canada looks like they are starting well with some good offensive pressure, but less than two minutes in Hilary Knight grabs a puck behind the Canadian net and manages to stuff it in short side between Szabados’ skate and the post. 1-0 USA
Canada responds with more pressure, as they should.
Laura Fortino fires a seeing-eye shot from the point that passes through a bunch of Americans and finds the back of the net to even it up 1-1 on Canada’s third shot of the game.
Jocelyne Larocque takes out Hannah Brandt behind their net and earns the first penalty of the game. Pass, pass, pass, fanned shot by Kacey Bellamy and Canada gets it out. The Americans are the only team to score a power play goal against Canada this week, but they didn’t manage it this time.
USA keeps the pressure on at even strength. Next penalty is an interference call drawn by Larocque that sends Bellamy to the box.
The Canadian power play is cut short as Renata Fast chases Kendall Coyne-Schofield (as players are wont to do) and upends her to prevent a shorthanded attempt. Natalie Spooner has a chance but shoots wide as the 4-on-4 expired.
Szabados makes a big stop on Dani Cameranesi back at full strength. So far she’s looked better than she did on Wednesday night.
Generally the Canadians are keeping a much faster pace—both in their skating and in their reactions—than in the last game, and the reaction to the Knight goal was good.
Couple of Americans right on the doorstep with about six minutes left and Szabados has to stretch — in the end it’s actually the post that keeps it out. Laura Stacey reacts by sending a long shot right at Alex Rigsby.
This is really good hockey, not nearly as physical as Canada and the US can sometimes be, a lot of snappy passes and clever interceptions.
Rebecca Johnston gets a breakaway but Bellamy gets in her way to deflect the shot.
Team USA was about to get called for icing when Szabados, under no threat at all, decides to play the puck. She made a choice like that on Wednesday and it’s just as infuriating this time.
Canada presses as the period moves into the last minute but the US clear the puck, followed by an offside issue. Those combine to help the final seconds of the period tick away harmlessly. There was a “discussion” after the whistle, just in case anyone wasn’t clear this was a Canada v USA matchup.
Early power play for Canada. Fortino passes to her partner, Fast, who misses it and ends up stuck in a corner battle. Amanda Kessel manages to get in the way of the Canadians twice, forcing the puck out of the zone each time. Mélodie Daoust finds Fortino, who can’t beat Rigsby but this leads to a flurry of Canadian chances that don’t quite manage to result in a goal. (Alex Rigsby is still good, pass it on.)
The Americans respond with some pressure in the Canadian zone but it doesn’t last long and Szabados is able to handle things.
We’re informed that Sarah Nurse was one of the Canadian players affected by the stomach flu that went through both the Finnish and Canadian teams. Myself, I wonder if Patient Zero wasn’t Noora Räty, who didn’t look great in her first game of the tournament and also seemed to be pretty terrible the previous weekend in her CWHL games against the Inferno, but had regained form by the bronze medal game.
Odd-player rush and Szabados is able to stop the Coyne-Schofield shot, but drops the puck and has to cover up.
Halfway point and Szabados looks flaily but the American shot goes high.
Another hard shot from Stacey that Rigsby sees all the way.
Larocque doesn’t quite get the puck to Daoust at the front of the net. Daoust rounds the net and tries a wraparound but no dice. Somehow this leads to the Americans going the other way and Brianna Decker makes it 3-1.
Seconds later Sidney Morin takes a shot and Hilary Knight tips it in the net. Canada decides to call their timeout but Szabados stays in. Personally, I think this might have been a mistake. Not saying it’s all on Szabados but down 4-1 to USA is not where Canada needed to be.
Nurse almost gets a breakaway but is fighting off the American defender as she tries to shoot. The Americans take a too many players penalty almost immediately thereafter.
Team USA are starting to look faster than the Canadians again. Even if they weren’t up by three goals that would not be a good sign.
Laura Fortino takes out Decker, who goes down and hits the boards with her cage. Penalty to Canada. Decker gets up immediately seeming more angry than hurt. More than one scramble in front of Szabados but she manages to keep the puck out. Nurse and Spooner manage to take the puck out shorthanded in the final seconds, but Rigsby stops Nurse’s shot.
Decker takes a hard shot at the blueline with 8.8 seconds left that Szabados stops.
Again Canada starts with pressure but less than a minute into the period the Americans are allowed into the Canadian zone and make it 5-1. The initial shot is Decker’s but it’s Coyne-Schofield who puts the rebound home.
That’s the end of the road for Szabados, as Maschmeyer finally takes over.
Stacey gets tangled up with an American. They play is whistled dead but no penalty.
As mentioned earlier, some of the Team Canada players have been sick this week but I’m sure none of them will blame this game on that. Still, they look tired.
Why is Blayre Turnbull doing all this shooting? She’s not exactly the player anyone expects to score.
Larocque goes to the box and Team USA has the advantage again. Maschmeyer gives me a heart attack going behind her net to retrieve a puck but she and Marie-Philip Poulin combine to get the puck down into the American zone.
Jill Saulnier to Turnbull for a shorthanded chance but Turnbull misses the net.
Kendall Coyne-Schofield gets called for a check so it’s Canada back on the power play.
The crowd roars as Rigsby goes down amid a scramble in the crease, but she manages to find the puck.
Jaime Bourbonnais absolutely blasts a slapshot from the point past Rigsby for the power play goal, with an assist from Loren Gabel. The rookies add to Canada’s total to make it 5-2.
The unit, which includes Victoria Bach and Kristin O’Neill, is part of head coach Perry Pearn’s philosophy that it’s time to see what the younger players can do and they need experience in order to show that. (That said, this was one one of Bach’s first shifts, but she wasn’t even supposed to be in this tournament.)
The Americans react with offensive pressure but Maschmeyer looks as calm as she did on Friday night when she shut out Finland to get Canada to this game.
Renata Fast shoves Coyne-Schofield into the corner and Canada’s on the kill again. They do their jobs and Team USA is 0-for-5 on the power play tonight.
Marie-Philip Poulin has had a few shots in this game but this moment might have been her best - she loses her stick as she enters the American zone but manages to pick it up again and keep control of the puck at speed.
Maschmeyer has been intermittently busy but is keeping everything out.
As the period winds down Team USA keeps interfering with Canada’s attempts to enter their zone long enough to pull Maschmeyer. She finally gets to leave with 1:15 left in the game.
The Americans ice the puck with 49.3 seconds left.
Fortino tries another seeing-eye shot but Rigsby stops that one. Another icing with 20.7s to go. It’s the rookies out for the last few seconds but Larocque who gets the final shot attempt, that sails over the net as the buzzer goes.
Team USA wins yet another 4 Nations Cup, 5-1, going undefeated in the tournament.
Despite a bump in the road during centralization it looks like the Alex Rigsby era isn’t quite over yet on Team USA. They probably want to figure out what’s going on with the power play, but otherwise, they’re still a scary team.
Canada will have lots of tape to review from this week. Hopefully they can sort out “illness-related” from “rookie mistake” from “unacceptable plays” and figure out some improvements as they build towards the World Championships in Espoo, Finland this spring.
A previous version of this post included an incorrect final score in the headline. Apologies to Bourbonnais for forgetting to count her goal.