WINNIPEG, MB -- A short-handed goal by Hayley Wickenheiser of Calgary at 12:25 of the second period wound up being the winner Saturday night as Canada built a 5-1 lead and withstood a third-period surge by Team USA to defeat the Americans 5-4 in a pre-Olympic women's hockey game.
The victory by Canada's Women's Olympic Hockey Team followed a 3-1 defeat to Team USA on Thursday night in Minneapolis, and tied the season series between the top two teams in women's hockey 3-3 as both prepare for the first-ever women's hockey tournament at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan next February.
Kathy McCormack of Fredericton, NB gave Canada a 1-0 lead at 5:28 of the opening period, but Angela Ruggiero evened the score for the U.S. at 10:20 of the period, which ended 1-1. Canada then scored four unanswered second-period goals, by Jayna Hefford of Kingston, ON, Tammy Shewchuk of St-Laurent, QC, Karen Nystrom of Scarborough, ON, and Wickenheiser.
Alana Blahoski, Tara Mounsey and Sandra Whyte scored third-period goals for the United States.
Wickenheiser's goal prompted U.S. coach Ben Smith to remove starting goalie Erin Whitten and insert Sara DeCosta, who faced seven of the 33 shots Canada fired at the U.S. goal. Lesley Reddon of Fredericton, NB stopped 21 of the 26 shots she faced in the game.
"It was a truly outstanding effort for 40 minutes," said assistant coach Ray Bennett. "Our fore check was excellent, creating turnovers and scoring opportunities, which we capitalized on.
"As expected, the United States came out hard in the third period, during which they scored two power-play goals, including one with 34 seconds remaining while they held a 6-4 advantage. We're certainly happy to have responded with a win after the difficult loss in Minneapolis."
Team Canada was scheduled to return to its home base at Father David Bauer Arena in Calgary on Sunday, where head coach Shannon Miller of Calgary will make four roster deletions before the Canadian Women's Olympic Hockey Team is officially announced at a news conference on Tuesday.
1. Canada, McCormack (Wickenheiser, Hefford) 5:28 PP
2. USA, Ruggiero (King) 10:20
Penalties --Schuler CAN (tripping) 1:44, Merz USA (interference) 2:;53, Brown-Miller USA (high sticking) 5:21, Brisson CAN (boarding) 10:40, St-Louis CAN (tripping) 19:49.
3. Canada, Hefford 0:32 SH
4. Canada, Shewchuk (Sunohara, Botterill) 5:43
5. Canada, Nystrom (Kellar, Schuler) 6:34
6. Canada, Wickenheiser (Heaney) 12:25 SH
Penalties --Merz USA (hooking) 3:36, Wickenheiser CAN (roughing) 7:52, Diduck CAN (boarding) 11:25, Wickenheiser CAN (boarding) 19:00.
>7. USA, Blahoski (King, Mounsey) 0:29 PP
8. USA, Mounsey (Brown-Miller) 13:17
9. USA, Whyte (Mounsey, Merz) 19:56 PP
Penalties --Whyte USA (holding) 9:53, Baker USA (slashing) 13:41, Drolet CAN (roughing) 13:41, Heaney CAN (elbowing) 19:29.
Shots on goal by: Goaltenders (Shots/saves):
USA -- 6-10-10--26 USA: Whitten (24/19, pulled 12:25 2nd period)
Canada -- 12-12-9--33 CANADA: Reddon (26/21)