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Women’s Hockey Wednesday: USA beats Canada 1-0 to begin Rivalry Series

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Hilary Knight the difference maker in the goalie duel.

Ice Hockey - Winter Olympics Day 13 Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Story of the Week

Between the NWHL All-Star Game, the EHT final, the Beanpot, and Hayley Wickenheiser being named to the IIHF Hall of Fame, it was an eventful week. But as always, when Canada and USA go head to head in women’s hockey, who can talk about anything else? The Rivalry Series kicked off in London, Ontario last night and game one lived up to its billing.

Canada came out for a strong start in the first period, forechecking aggressively and getting a lot of chances, while the US started the game back on their heels a bit. They had a lot of trouble moving the puck up ice—I must’ve seen at least three or four instances of a Canadian just standing up a US player attempting a zone exit at the blue line. Even when Sarah Nurse was called for goalie interference and the US went on the power play, Canada dominated possession, and had some great shorthanded chances.

Unsurprisingly to any of us who’ve watched Ann-Sophie Bettez in her years lighting up the CWHL, Canada’s top line of Bettez and Rebecca Johnston centered by Marie-Philip Poulin sparkled immediately. They were consistently excellent the whole night, especially the combination of Bettez and Johnston, who both took advantage of Poulin’s tendency to draw everyone else’s attention as soon as she gains the zone.

This was also a really physical game, even by US-Canada standards, and we weren’t even out of the first period before punches were thrown:

I don’t think any of us had Halli Krzyzaniak down as the first player to throw a punch in this series, but this rivalry is full of surprises! Krzyzaniak and Bozek were given offsetting roughing minors, but the 4 on 4 elapsed without a goal.

The tide turned in the second period, with the Americans gaining more control of the play. Canada did have a power play when Brianna Decker went to the box for hooking, but they had issues keeping it in the zone and overall looked pretty ineffective. It was Hilary Knight (who else?) who snapped the 0-0 tie late in the period, banging home a loose puck after a Savannah Harmon point shot was very effectively screened by Hannah Brandt:

Everyone just kind of...forgot...about Knight over there, which is never a good way to play a hockey game against Team USA.

Canada regained some of their pressure in the third. Laura Stacey tripped Savannah Harmon, but Team USA didn’t really have the chance to do more than cycle the puck before Amanda Kessel was called for slashing Poulin. The Canadian power play had more success this time, although not the kind of success that ends up on the scoreboard, and they kept up that momentum. Along with the Poulin line, who were just fantastic all game, I saw a lot of great stuff from the Natalie Spooner-Victoria Bach-Sarah Nurse GTA CWHL combo. Unfortunately, Alex Rigsby was very up to the task. She did work this period, stopping several grade-A chances from Nurse, Johnston, Bettez, and others. At one point, Erin Ambrose slid a pass all the way through the neutral zone to Jamie Lee Rattray, a fine reminder that Erin Ambrose is extremely good.

Towards the end of the period, Canada suddenly seemed incapable of getting the puck out of their own zone so Maschmeyer could get to the bench, and that meant that they didn’t pull the goaltender until after a timeout with just over thirty seconds on the clock. There was time for one final chance from Ann-Sophie Bettez, who played the whole game looking like she’d been on the senior team for years, but Team USA took this one 1-0.

International hockey

Canadian women want to send a message in hockey’s Rivalry Series showdown | National Post
The sweep starts here.The Canadian senior national women's hockey team plans to make a major statement against the reigning Olympic and four-time defending world champion United States in the three-game Rivalry Series, which begins Tuesday at Budweiser Gardens.

Late-blooming Bettez finally gets her shot with Canadian women’s hockey team | Vancouver Courier
Ann-Sophie Bettez wasn’t getting her hopes up.

Hayley Wickenheiser will join IIHF Hall of Fame - The Ice Garden
Wick becomes the first woman since Angela Ruggiero to join the IIHF’s Hall of Fame

IIHF - Hall of Fame Class of 2019 named
Swedish record player Jorgen Jonsson, American legend Mike Modano, Slovaks Zigmund Palffy and Miroslav Satan as well as the most successful female hockey player ever, Hayley Wickenheiser, will be inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in the player category. The late Boris Alexandrov, a former Soviet national team player and national coach in his native country of Kazakhstan, will be inducted as builder.

2019 U.S. Women’s National University Team Unveiled
Universiade is just around the corner - ACHA and NCAA Div III players make up the bulk of the team.

IIHF - Wins for Russia, France and Denmark
Ahead of the big Canada vs USA rivalry series that starts Tuesday in London, Ontario, Europe’s top teams continued their preparations for the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship with the final stage of the Euro Hockey Tour in Russia. Elsewhere, France and Denmark enjoyed success at two Four Nation tournaments, while Korea celebrated the anniversary of last February’s Olympics by winning a Legacy Cup in Gangneung.

NWHL

NWHL Stock Report: Nashville Bound - The Ice Garden
City of (all-) stars, are you shinin’ just for me...

Photos: 2019 NWHL All-Star Weekend Skills Competition
Photos: 2019 NWHL All-Star Weekend Skills Competition

Who run the world? Beauts. - Die By The Blade
Buffalo stars take center stage at record-setting All-Star Game

Bigger, Stronger, Faster: Women’s hockey outgrowing its dependence on the men’s game – Boston Herald
Women’s hockey has been measured against men’s hockey for years. As more girls and women play, and more opportunities arise, the need for women’s hockey to exist in context to the men’s game is waning — and that’s a good thing.

Set free from frustration, Riveters' Packer begins flourishing in fourth NWHL campaign - TheHockeyNews

CWHL

CWHL Recap: Toronto Furies lose 4-1 to les Canadiennes de Montréal - Pension Plan Puppets
A shorthanded goal from Natalie Spooner can’t save her team from troublesome nets, a fluke goal and Montréal firepower.

Inferno Report: Dominating final home game of regular season – Flamesnation
The Inferno and Blades were supposed to play two games this weekend to close off the Inferno’s regular season at home. However, due to a flight cancellation, the Blades weren’t going to make it in time for Saturday’s game, so the league decided to make Sunday’s game worth four points, something not everyone agreed with.

Jayna Hefford on the CWHL, when there will be a female GM or coach in the NHL and more
We checked in with the 2018 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee on where the CWHL goes from here, and for insights on the hockey world at large.

CWHL All-Star Liz Knox Represents Both the Present and Future of Pro Women’s Hockey
Taking the ice at Scotiabank Arena as captain of Team Gold was a dream come true for CWHL veteran Liz Knox.

NCAA

Polls: USCHO - USA Today - The Ice Garden

More Than Just A Trophy: Women’s Beanpot Championship & Consolation Hold Major Pairwise Implications - BC Interruption
Playing at 5pm doesn’t make Tuesday any less important for the Eagles

With speed and energy, Sylvie Wallin creating a buzz at Princeton - The Ice Garden
Princeton junior Sylvie Wallin is as much of a presence off the ice as she is on the blue line

GOAL BY GOAL: BC Women’s Hockey Offense Explodes In 7-1 Win Over New Hampshire - BC Interruption
BC’s largest scoring output of the season avenges an earlier loss to the Wildcats

Women’s Hockey: Dahlquist scores twice on senior night to help No. 9 Ohio State avoid season sweep against Bemidji State | The Lantern

RPI's Lovisa Selander women's hockey NCAA Div. I saves record | News | troyrecord.com
TROY, N.Y. – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) student-athlete Lovisa Selander has broken the women’s hockey NCAA Division I record for career saves with her 11th first period stop against Harvard

Badgers women's hockey team sweeps Minnesota State | Wisconsin Badgers Hockey | madison.com
The first of freshman Sophie Shirley's two goals sent the Badgers on the way to a 4-1 victory over Minnesota State at LaBahn Arena.

U Sports

TOP 10 Tuesday — U SPORTS
Pandas climb into the top spot this week.

From the Prairies to the pros | The Manitoban
Now in her final year with the brown-and-gold, Rieder’s hockey journey went from normal beginnings to a championship pinnacle.

European club hockey

Women’s Hockey Update: February 6th, 2019 | CONWAY’S RUSSIAN HOCKEY BLOG
Agidel Ufa and Dynamo St. Petersburg have both booked their tickets to the Women’s Hockey League’s post-season. But what of the rest of the league?

SDHL:Mom in October - playoff in February | Aftonbladet
Minatsu Murase back in AIK.

The Naisten Liiga playoffs are set - The Ice Garden
Six teams will play for the prettiest trophy in sports.