Canada captures Four Nations title; U.S. settles for 3rd
LAKE PLACID – Jenelle Kohanchuk scored twice and Vicki Bendus had the tiebreaking goal and added two assists to help Canada win the Four Nations Cup women’s hockey tournament for the 13th time, 6-3 over Finland on Saturday night.
Jennifer Wakefield, Brianne Jenner and Haley Irwin also scored for three-time defending Olympic champion Canada, 4-0 in the Sochi tuneup event.
Canada opened the tournament with a 3-1 victory over Finland, beat the United States 4-2, and rallied to edge Sweden 4-3 on Friday.
“We didn’t respect Sweden when we started the game,” Canadian coach Dan Church said. “We came out too happy with ourselves after a good game against the United States and thought we could cruise through that game. It was a valuable lesson for us not to take anyone lightly.”
In the third-place game, Kelli Stack, Jocelyne Lamoureux and Hilary Knight each scored twice in the United States’ 8-1 victory over Sweden.
Kohanchuk, off an assist from Bendus, opened the scoring at 2:25 of the first period, beating former University of Minnesota goalie Noora Raty. Riika Valila tied it for Finland (2-2), Bendus countered for Canada, and Wakefield and Jenner added goals in the period.
Raty made 58 saves Friday night in Finland’s 3-1 victory over the United States.
“We know she’s a great goaltender,” Bendus said. “Last night, she had a lot of shots on her and she may be tired. So we wanted to get a lot of pucks on her and make her work really hard.”
Finland’s Anna Kilponen cut it to 4-2 late in the second period. Kohanchuk had a power-play goal early in the third, Susanna Tapani responded for Finland at 6:46, and Irwin completed the scoring with 6 seconds left. Canada outshot Finland 45-22.
“You have to prepare for Noora,” Church said. “She’s one of the best goaltenders in the world, if not the best. She can steal a game and did that against the U.S. You have to game-plan for her. We got to her early and that was the difference.”
In the third-place game, Kate Buesser and Brianna Decker also scored for the United States.
Buesser and Decker scored in the first period, and Sweden’s Sofia Engstrom cut the deficit in half in the final minute. In the second period, Stack had two power-play goals and Knight scored another. Stack added a short-handed goal in the third.
The Americans outshot Sweden 59-6.
The U.S. finished 2-2, also beating Sweden 10-0 in the opener. Sweden was 0-4.
With less than three months to the Sochi Olympics, the teams used the tournament in part to evaluate players before finalizing their rosters.