CANADA’S SPECIAL TEAMS SHINE IN SERIES-TYING WIN Wendy Graves

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    Natalie Spooner

    BOSTON – Canada scored once shorthanded and once on the man advantage, and successfully killed off nine American power play opportunities to notch a 5-1 victory and even its six-game series with the United States at one win each.

    Natalie Spooner (Scarborough, Ont./Toronto, CWHL) led the way with two goals. Meghan Agosta (Ruthven, Ont./Hockey Canada), Laura Fortino (Hamilton, Ont./Markham, CWHL) and Marie-Philip Poulin (Beauceville, Que./Montreal, CWHL) also scored for Canada.

    Geneviève Lacasse (Kingston, Ont./Calgary, CWHL) was outstanding in net, turning aside 37 shots in picking up the win. The goaltender improved her record to 6-1 all-time against the U.S.

    Coming off a disappointing performance and result in the opener, Canada didn’t get the start it hoped for in Game 2. Spending four of the first six minutes killing penalties, Canada couldn’t find its offensive presence.

    Finally fully settled – and back at full strength – the Canadians opened the scoring seven minutes in, with Agosta driving down the boards and feeding Spooner in front.

    The U.S. drew even less than four minutes later, when Emily Pfalzer scored on her own rebound.

    Shorthanded, Canada retook the lead five minutes into the second period, with Fortino converting a pass from Jillian Saulnier (Halifax, N.S./Calgary, CWHL) on the rush.

    Incredibly, it was the team’s only shot of the second until the 15-minute of the period. Over the final five of the frame, though, the team fired off six more, two of which found the back of the net to take control of the game.

    On the power play, Spooner scored her second, pouncing in front on a rebound from a Meaghan Mikkelson (St. Albert, Alta./Calgary, CWHL) shot. And 1:22 later, Jennifer Wakefield (Pickering, Ont./Linköping HC) sent a quick pass to Agosta in the slot; Agosta rang the puck off the post and in.

    Alex Rigsby relieved Natalie Hensley in the American net to start the third period.

    Canada got the only goal of the third. Poulin intercepted a pass in the offensive zone and rifled a shot from the circle top shelf, short side.

    After two games in four days, the series steps aside for the 2017 4 Nations Cup, Nov. 7-12 in Tampa, where Canada and the U.S. could play two more times. The series resumes on Dec. 3 in St. Paul, Minn.

    Quotes:

     

    “The win is going to give us a lot of confidence moving forward. We are a great team, we are very skilled and very talented, we have a lot of young players but we have what it takes. The coaching staff is going to have a really hard time choosing this team but with whoever they choose we can be successful and we need to believe in that, believe in ourselves and our abilities and go out there and play like we did tonight.”

    –      Meghan Agosta on what Wednesday’s win meant for the team

     

    “It was huge to come back after that loss, I think we learned a lot from it and we were able to build and improve on a lot of things and today it showed playing a much more aggressive game and taking it to them when we had the opportunities.”

    –      Natalie Spooner on Canada’s rebound from its series opener 

     

    “It meant a lot [to get this win], I knew we could play better from our coaching staff through to our players and we definitely showed that tonight. I thought our girls played with a lot of grit and determination, their work ethic was absolutely outstanding, the energy on our bench was amazing and our girls really gave everything they had tonight.”

    –      Head coach Laura Schuler on Canada’s performance

     

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