LONDON, Ont. – Emerance Maschmeyer (Bruderheim, Alta./Montreal, CWHL) kept things close with a 20-save performance, but Canada’s National Women’s Team couldn’t find the back of the net in a 1-0 loss to the United States to open the Rivalry Series on Tuesday night.
The Canadians held a 33-21 advantage in shots on goal, including 12-2 in the third period, but were turned away time and time again by U.S. goaltender Alex Rigsby to kick off the three-game set.
A capacity crowd of 8,435 at Budweiser Gardens was loud from the first drop of the puck, and Canada gave its fans plenty to cheer about during an opportunity-filled first period.
Marie-Philip Poulin (Beauceville, Que./Montreal, CWHL) and Ann-Sophie Bettez (Sept-Îles, Que./Montreal, CWHL) worked their magic early, and Blayre Turnbull (Stellarton, N.S./Calgary, CWHL) drove hard to the net for the best chance of the opening frame, but Rigsby kept it scoreless after 20 minutes.
Both teams picked up the pace in the second period, combining for 25 shots on goal (Canada had a 13-12 edge), but it was the Americans who finally struck first.
With less than two minutes to go in the middle stanza, a high point shot from Savannah Harmon found its way to Hilary Knight at the side of the net and she made no mistake, sending the U.S. to the intermission up a goal.
That would be all Rigsby would need; she was at her best in the third period to become the first goaltender to shut out Canada since the opening game of the 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championship, a span of 27 games.
The series continues Thursday night (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT) in Toronto before heading south of the border for the finale Sunday afternoon (12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT) in Detroit.
“We came out strong; it was a physical game and we were right into it. The second period we didn’t really play our game, they were able to get that one goal and the third period we were right back at it. Had we played our game in the second, it might have still been 0-0 or we might have scored, so going forward we have to put together a 60-minute game, get pucks to the net and find ways to score.”
– Natalie Spooner (Scarborough, Ont./Toronto, CWHL) on rebounding in the final two games