Canada tops U.S. in first round of worlds

OTTAWA (AP) – The United States let a 2-0 third-period lead slip away as rival Canada rallied for a 3-2 shootout victory Tuesday in the opening round of the 2013 IIHF Women’s World Championshp tournament in Ottawa.

The Americans had prepared for the tournament with a week-long training camp in Lake Placid, which ended Sunday.

Jennifer Wakefield scored the game-winning goal in the shootout as the Canadians won on home ice in front of more than 11,000 fans at Scotiabank Place.

After Wakefield beat U.S. netminder Jessie Vetter, goalie Shannon Szabados sealed the win for Canada when she stopped Hilary Knight in the fourth round.

Meghan Agosta-Marciano also scored and Szabados stopped three of four shots for Canada in the shootout.

“I thought about jumping into the boards, but I didn’t want to celebrate too hard in case they went down and scored,” Wakefield said. “But a lot of credit to Szabados stopping three of the four. That was phenomenal.”

Canada trailed 2-0 after two periods but scored twice in the final nine minutes of regulation to forge the deadlock. Captain Hayley Wickenheiser skated to the bench and headed for the dressing room in the second period. She did not return.

“Heading into the third period with a two-goal lead, we’ve got to make sure we’re making smart chips, smart pucks,” U.S. captain Julie Chu said. “Turnovers are going to cost us and I think that’s kind of what happened.”

Knight was the first shooter for the United States and she scored on that attempt before Szabados stopped her second.

The U.S. had the momentum until Canada’s Rebecca Johnston and Catherine Ward scored in the final nine minutes of regulation to send the game into overtime.

“We’re a confident group and we were able to take it to them in the third,” Wakefield said.

Monique Lamoureux and Brianna Decker buried pucks in the first period to give the U.S. a 2-0 edge, but Szabados shut down the Americans the rest of the way.

Szabados stopped 24 of 26 shots in regulation, while Vetter made 27 saves on 29 shots for the U.S.

The U.S. Women’s National Team plays again today against Finland, with the opening faceoff scheduled for 3:30 p.m.