LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – Audrey-Anne Veillette (Drummondville, Que./Stanstead College, NAPHA) scored on a second-period power play, but Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team couldn’t recover from an early deficit in a 4-1 loss to the United States to open the three-game series between the rivals Thursday.
Canada had the better chances in the early minutes of the first period, but momentum swung towards the host with the first penalty of the game just before the midway mark.
The U.S. converted on the man advantage, with Maggie Flaherty wiring a wrist shot over the short-side shoulder of Canadian goaltender Halle Oswald (Sanford, Man./Pembina Valley, MFMHL) at 10:42.
Casey O’Brien doubled the lead at 15:03, finding a loose puck in the crease and beating Oswald, and Makenna Webster tucked a deke around the Canadian puck-stopper at 18:47 to put the Americans up 3-0 after 20 minutes.
Canada came out with jump in the second period, almost doubling its shot total from the first, and Veillette finished a pretty passing play on a Canadian power play at 6:24 to cut the U.S. lead to two. Claire Dalton (Toronto, Ont./Toronto, PWHL) and Willow Slobodzian (Clavet, Sask./Saskatoon, SFMAAAHL) picked up well-earned assists.
Maggie Connors (St. John’s, N.L./Shattuck-St. Mary’s, USHS) had a golden chance to make it a one-goal game just minutes later after she picked off an errant pass in the U.S. zone, but her shot found the base of the post behind netminder Lindsay Reed.
Canada outshot the Americans 9-6 in the third period – and 29-27 overall – but Abbey Murphy capped the scoring for the U.S. into an empty net with 37 seconds left.
Despite the loss, the Canadians still lead the all-time summer series 17-14.
The series continues Friday (5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT) at Herb Brooks Arena, part of the Lake Placid Olympic Center, before wrapping up with an early puck drop Sunday (9:30 a.m. ET/6:30 a.m. PT).
“What I liked tonight from our team is that we had a really good start; we came out of the gate excited, we just didn’t capitalize on our chances early. Overall, there were a lot of good things happening for our team, a lot of positives, and we know that we’re going to be here tomorrow ready to play.”
Delaney Collins, head coach of Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team
“It’s great to come back and have this experience. I’m less nervous, and can share my experience and leadership to the team. [The difference with international play] is the speed of the game; I know what it’s like, I’m used to it, so I can [settle in and] play my game.”
Audrey-Anne Veillette, named alternate captain for the series, on the differences in this year’s Canada-U.S. series after having competed with Team Canada at the 2017 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship