CANADA DOWNED BY U.S. IN DEVELOPMENT OPENER
JASON LA ROSE
CALGARY, Alta. – Sophie Shirley (Saskatoon, Sask./University of Wisconsin, WCHA) tied the game in the first period, but a two-goal second was the difference as Canada’s National Women’s Development Team fell 4-1 to the United States on Thursday in the first of three games between the teams.
Special teams kept the Canadians from getting any momentum – they needed to kill off three American power plays in the first period, and went goalless on three of their own in the second as the U.S. pulled away.
It took just 1:53 for the Americans to open the scoring; a rebound into the slot found Natalie Snodgrass, and although the puck rolled off her stick it rolled right to Mikaela Gardner, who knocked the loose puck past Canadian goal Tricia Deguire (Sherbrooke, Que./McGill University, RSEQ).
Shirley got that back near the 14-minute mark, forcing a turnover at the U.S. blue-line before finishing a centering feed from Daryl Watts (Toronto, Ont./Boston College, HE) to tie the game.
The teams were even on the shot clock in the second period, managing eight apiece, but it was the Americans who pulled ahead – Taylor Heise jumped on a rebound in front to restore the U.S. lead at 5:37, and she got a shot through a screen seven minutes later to make it a 3-1 game after 40 minutes.
Canada had its chances in the final frame, but couldn’t put another puck past U.S. netminder Maddie Rooney.
Grace Zumwinkle found the empty net with 1:42 to go, finishing the scoring.
The series continues Friday night at the Markin MacPhail Centre (7 p.m. MT), with the Canadians looking to avoid back-to-back losses to their southern rivals for the first time since being swept in 2014.
The finale is set for Sunday morning (10 a.m. MT).