Canada claims Rivalry Rematch against USA in overtime

Hillary+Knight+scores+Team+USAs+first+goal+of+the+afternoon+on+a+backhanded+shot+to+beat+Ann-Renee+Desbiens.+Photo+credit%3A+Ethan+Morrison

Hillary Knight scores Team USA’s first goal of the afternoon on a backhanded shot to beat Ann-Renee Desbiens. Photo credit: Ethan Morrison

By Nathan Breisinger, Editor in Chief

PITTSBURGH– Weeks after Canada edged the United States in the women’s hockey gold medal game in Beijing, the two historic adversaries were primed for a Rivalry Rematch at PPG Paints Arena.

Canada came away with the same fate as their previous matchup with the United States, this time winning 4-3 in overtime.

Despite a tough matchup on the ice and a Team Canada victory, both teams were playing for those in the stands and other generations of women’s hockey players.

“We made a statement today,” team Canada captain Marie-Philip Poulin said. “It was awesome to see little girls in the stands and to take a step back and realize how many girls were in the stands with signs wanting to be us one day.”

With the anthems completed, both teams were energized to get after one another with the crowd buzzing inside the building.

Canada flashed why they took home gold not too long ago as they struck nearly five minutes into the game. Rebecca Johnston skated into the offensive zone but was met by a USA defender. Teammate Blayre Turnbull then moved in past the tied-up players and one-timed the loose puck past Alex Cavallini.

Both teams kept one another aligned throughout the first period until Hilary Knight found herself alone with the puck and sped in on a breakaway with 34 seconds left in the opening frame. Knight went forehand to backhand and froze Canada netminder Ann-Renee Desbiens for a brilliant goal.

“It was fresh off a shorter shift and it was a solid defensive play that led to a good bounce for us offensively,” Knight said.

Starting the second period, Canada turned to the offensive and broke the tie as Jocelyne Larocque scorched a slap shot towards the cage that was deflected by Turnbull for her second of the game.

Once again, the United States would answer to knot the game up at two as Hannah Brandt collected a loose puck and deposited it into the back of the net past the second Canadian netminder, Emerance Maschmeyer.

With every goal, the crowd erupted in a frenzy and created a different atmosphere than the players were used to during the Olympics.

“If COVID has taught us anything, we appreciate the moments we get to have with friends, fans, and family in the crowd,” Knight said. “Hockey is such an amazing sport to share with the masses and to not have that for so long we were starved from that support.”

Similar to their two matchups in the Olympics, these two teams were bound for a tight finish heading into the final period.

USA took its first lead against Canada since their preliminary round game back on Feb. 8 as Hayley Scamurra released a shot from the slot that found itself behind the Canadian netminder.

Not even a minute later, Canada responded with Jamie Lee Rattray burying a shot past Nicole Hensley.

As a normal USA-Canada rivalry would, the two teams fought to a stalemate after three periods, forcing overtime for the two squads and an increase in competitiveness.

“You never want to lose to [Canada],” Amanda Kessel said. “It’s giving them everything we have any time we step on the ice.”

Two minutes into the extra frame, Marie-Philip Poulin controlled the puck weaving through the offensive zone. As she made her way behind the net, Poulin threw it to the front and received a fortuitous bounce off of USA defender Megan Keller to lift team Canada to a win.

“Today was special,” Poulin said. “It was more than a winner or loser. It was about women’s hockey.”

In 2022, Canada has had team USA’s number and the same would be true in the Rivalry Rematch at PPG Paints Arena.

Nonetheless, the matchup provided an entertaining experience for fans and the players as they continue to grow the game of women’s hockey.