Canada 5 - United States 1
NATIONAL WOMEN’S UNDER-18 TEAM DEBUTS WITH 5-1 WIN OVER USA
As far as first games go, it was a pretty good start for Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team in the first game of their three-game series with the USA’s National Women’s Under-18 Team on Thursday night in Ottawa, ON.
Canadian captain Lauriane Rougeau (Beaconsfield, QC) scored once and added two assists, while Natalie Spooner (Scarborough, ON) added a goal and a helper as Canada picked up a 5-1 win in the first-ever game for the National Women’s Under-18 Team.
After a slow start – there were three penalties called in the first 5:44 – Canada jumped into the lead when Catherine White (Brampton, ON) took a pass from Rougeau and broke in alone, beating American goaltender Alyssa Grogan on the backhand.
The goal at the 8:27 mark will go down in history as the first for Canada’s newest national women’s team.
The 2-0 goal nine minutes later was an all-Manitoba affair, as Breann Frykas (East St. Paul, MB) took a pass in the slot from Bailey Bram (Ste-Anne, MB) and snapped the puck past Grogan, who was moving the wrong way.
The Canadians controlled the play in the opening 20 minutes, outshooting their southern neighbours 12-6.
After a quick start to the middle frame, which saw very few whistles in the opening minutes, Spooner drove to the net and, after having her first shot stopped, fired the rebound shortside past Grogan, giving the Canadians a 3-0 lead.
The Americans got one back less than two minutes later on a powerplay, as Brianna Decker picked up a loose puck at the side of the goal and beat Hillary Pattenden (Surrey, BC) to cut the Canadian advantage to two at 3-1.
But Canada continued to apply the pressure and were rewarded on the powerplay at the 16:50 mark when Spooner went all-out, diving to her stomach to push the puck to Rougeau, who had jumped in on the rush from her blueline position.
The Canadian captain slid the puck through the pads of Grogan to quell any American uprising and restore the three-goal advantage, this time at 4-1.
Canada’s defense kept the pressure on the Americans, not allowing more than six shots to reach Pattenden in any period, including just six in the final period as the USA fought to get back into the game.
Carolyne Prevost (Sarnia, ON) rounded out the scoring with the Canadians on the man advantage late in the third, picking up a Rougeau point shot and spinning in front of the American goal before beating Grogan.
The Canadians held a sizable advantage in shots on goal, finishing with a 39-17 advantage over their opponents, including 29-11 over the final 40 minutes.
Bram was named Player of the Game for the Canadians, while Ashley Holmes picked up the honour for the Americans in a losing cause.
Game two of the three-game set goes Friday night at the University of Ottawa Sports Complex. The puck drops at 7:00 p.m. ET.