KUORTANE, FINLAND - Canada's National Women's Team came back from a two goal deficit in the first period, and was successful on the ensuing penalty shot tie-breaker, to beat Team USA 4-3 and to clinch first place at the 3 Nations Cup in Finland.
The 3 Nations Cup format, which includes Canada, USA and host Finland, has each team play each other twice. The team with the most points is the 1998 3 Nations Cup champion. This is the second time in three years Canada has finished first at the 3 Nations Cup, and is Canada's first title since the silver medal finish at the Olympic games in Nagano, Japan.
The USA opened the first period with goals from Karen Bye and Shelley Looney, but Canada responded with Fiona Smith of Saskatoon, SK setting up Trenton, Ontario's Jayna Hefford's goal at 18:04 of the first period.
Canada's Mai-Lan Lê of Montreal, QC scored the only goal of the second period, with Karen Nystrom of Scarborough, ON getting the assist at 10:02, tieing the game 2-2.
Canada's Cheryl Pounder of Montreal, QC scored an unassisted power play goal at 4:32 of the third period, and Team USA scored on a 5 on 3 power play at 10:13 to tie the game 3-3 at the end of regulation. After 10 minutes of scoreless overtime, and solid goaltending by both teams, the game went to a shootout to break the tie.
Each team had six shooters, with Canada's Nancy Drolet of Drummondville, QC, Cassie Campbell of Brampton, ON and Amanda Benoit of Welland, ON being the successful scorers for Canada, with Benoit's goal credited as the game and tournament winner.
"We played well together and everyone worked hard", said Canada's Hefford, who was named player of the game for Canada. "It was a total team effort. Our character really showed tonight, we never gave up."
"It was an exciting game, and it is always good when you comeback from two goals down and get back into the game", said Team Canada's assistant coach Karen Hughes.
Canada's Kim St-Pierre of LaSalle, QC stopped 13 of 15 shots in the first period, and Sami Jo Small of Winnipeg stopped 19 of 20 shots, with an additional 4 of 6 in the shoot out.
"Our defense did a good job of clearing the front of the net tonight and allowed me to see the shots", said Small.
Canada plays one last game in the tournament against Finland on Wednesday, Dec. 16 at 6:30pm (9:30 EST) before heading back home to Canada on Dec. 17. Canada currently is 3-0 in the tournament, the USA are 1-2 and Finland is 0-3.