BATHURST, NB -- Veteran forward Angela James's goal at 6:09 of the third period held up as the game winner Friday night as Canada's Women's Olympic Hockey Team downed Team USA 3-2 in a pre-Olympic matchup.
James, a four-time Women's World Champion from Thornhill, ON, converted a pass from defender Rebecca Fahey of Sackville, NB to give Canada a 3-1 lead. The U.S. moved within a goal at 15:26 of the final period after Stephanie O'Sullivan scored, but Team Canada held on for the victory to run their won-lost record to 7-1 so far this season. A crowd of about 2,100 watched the game at the K.C. Irving Regional Centre.
"I'm very pleased with our performance tonight," said Shannon Miller, Team Canada head coach. "We played with intelligence and speed in the second and third periods, which made the difference in the game."
Sandra Whyte gave the Americans a 1-0 lead with a goal at 5:11 of the first period, which the Americans dominated. But Karen Nystrom of Scarborough, a three-time Women's World champion, tied the game when she scored at 19:35 of the first period on a setup from Laura Schuler. In the second period, Olympic hopeful Tammy Shewchuk of St-Laurent, QC, made it 2-1 for Canada when she beat Team USA goalie Sarah Tueting after taking a pass from Canadian defender Fiona Smith of Edam, SK at 14:41.
"In a see-saw game, Canada thoroughly outplayed us in the second period and we ended up digging a hole for ourselves that we could not get out of," said U.S. team head coach Ben Smith.
One reason the Americans weren't able to dig themselves out of that hole was the play of Lesley Reddon of Fredericton, one of five residents of New Brunswick on Team Canada. Reddon played a strong game in goal for Canada as she stopped 20 of the 22 shots she faced.
The game was the second of 11 matches between the top two teams in women's hockey as both prepare to compete in the women's hockey tournament at the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. Team USA defeated Canada 5-4 in a shootout on Oct. 25 when the teams played in Salt Lake City, UT. The teams play again tonight in Saint John, NB and again on Monday in Kitchener, ON, where last April 6 Canada defeated the Americans 4-3 in overtime to win their fourth straight title at the Women's World Hockey Championship.
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