U.S. off to strong start in Four Nations Cup
LAKE PLACID – Players on the United States women’s hockey team weren’t really happy about some recent efforts they had during exhibition games as they gear up for February’s Winter Olympic Games in Russia.
Two of the matchups that didn’t go the Americans’ way were a 3-2 loss to Canada in Burlington, Vt. on Oct. 12, and a 6-3 defeat at the hands of the same team on Oct. 18 in Boisbriand, Quebec.
With one, and possibly two games, on the schedule this week in Lake Placid against Canada again in the Four Nations Cup Tournament, the Americans hope they’ve left any on-ice struggles in the past. It certainly looked that way Tuesday, as the U.S. routed Sweden 10-0 in opening-round action at the Olympic Center’s Herb Brooks Arena.
Eight players buried pucks for the U.S., and Gigi Marvin and Kendall Coyne led the way with two goals each.
The Americans wasted little time in taking down the Swedes, outshooting their opponent 23-1 in the first period while scoring four goals, including three on the power play.
“I love how our team played today,” U.S. head coach Katey Stone said. “I’m very pleased with how we started and how we finished the game. We played with a lot of jump, a lot of intensity and a real sense of urgency.”
Captain Meghan Duggan got the U.S. on the board, tipping a puck past Sweden’s netminder Sara Grahn for a power-play goal 6:59 into the game. Coyne then put the U.S. up 2-0 just 36 seconds later when she scored with another Swede in the penalty box.
The U.S. all but put the game away by scoring two more goals in less than a minute later in the period. Anne Schleper tallied at the 16:18 mark and Marvin top-shelved a wrist shot 38 seconds later for a 4-0 American lead at the end of the opening period.
Kelli Stack and Jocelyne Lamoureux notched second-period goals for the U.S., and Marvin, Hilary Knight, Alex Carpenter and Coyne each found the back of the net in the third period.
The U.S. finished the game with a 59-8 advantage in shots on goal.
“I think we really stepped it up since our last international games,” said Carpenter, who also chipped in a pair of assists in the victory. “We just are on our ‘A’ game right now. We are reinforcing our forecheck right now and getting people all over the puck.”
“Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve had some good long talks with our team about our effort,” Marvin said. “A quick start is something we’ve been working on. Bringing it every single shift – that’s the key. This was an awesome beginning of the tournament for us.”
The Americans will find out how far they’ve come tonight when they clash in a much-anticipated matchup against Canada. Opening face off slated for 7 p.m. at the Olympic Center. The Canadians kicked off Four Nations Cup play Tuesday with a 3-1 victory over Finland.
The four teams will also play Friday, with the consolation and championship contests taking place Saturday.
Canada 3, Finland 1
LAKE PLACID (AP) – Rebecca Johnston and Natalie Spooner scored first-period goals to lead Canada to a 3-1 victory over Finland on Tuesday in the opener of the Four Nations Cup women’s tournament.
Johnston had a power-play goal at 12:52 for the three-time defending Olympic gold medalists, and Spooner made it 2-0 just 1:34 later.
Vicki Bendus scored in the third period for Canada, which outshot Finland 39-23. Canada’s next opponent is the United States tonight at 7 p.m.
The United States and Canada are heavy favorites to meet again for the gold medal in February at the Sochi Winter Olympics.
Tea Villila had a late power-play goal for Finland.
Four of the six Sochi Olympic teams are in the Four Nations Cup this week.