By Jeff DeDekker, The Canadian Press on February 9, 2024.
REGINA – Goals from Natalie Spooner, Emily Clark and Sarah Nurse in the third period, along with 27 saves from Emerance Maschmeyer, gave Canada a 3-0 victory over the United States in Game 6 of the Rivalry Series on Friday night in Regina.
The victory squares the series at three games each heading into Game 7 on Sunday in St. Paul, Minn. The U.S. won the first three games of the series but Canada has bounced back with three straight victories to even the series.
With U.S. defenceman Megan Keller in the penalty box, Spooner scored the winner 58 seconds into the third period. As Canada broke into the U.S. zone, Spooner took a cross-ice pass from Marie-Philip Poulin, cut to the net and beat goalie Aerin Frankel with a shot high on the glove side.
Emily Clark had a great chance to increase Canada’s lead seven minutes into the period when Poulin sprang her on a breakaway with a fantastic cross-ice pass. Clark broke in on the left wing and beat Frankel on the glove side only to have the shot ring off the far post.
Clark got the upper hand on Frankel minutes later on a strong individual effort to put Canada up 2-0. Cutting to the net off the left-wing boards, she muscled her way past a U.S. defenceman before depositing a backhand past Frankel.
Nurse sealed the victory with 4:25 left in the third period, taking a pass from behind the net and depositing a quick wrist shot past Frankel.
The game got off to a slow start but picked up the pace as the first period progressed. The U.S. Canada 5-3 in the opening frame, had the best two scoring chances of the frame with Alex Carpenter hitting a post and Kelly Pannek ringing a shot off the crossbar.
There was a 10-minute delay at the start of the second period due to a malfunction with the scoreboard system. After returning to the ice for the start of the frame, the officials sent the teams back to their dressing rooms to wait out the issue.
Canada got into penalty trouble in the second period, taking three minors which allowed the U.S. to build momentum through their power play. An old hockey adage states the goalie must be the team’s best penalty killer and Maschmeyer was up to the task in the frame. She stopped four shots on the initial power play, including stopping Carpenter from close quarters after the U.S. forward found herself behind the Canadian defence.
Canada’s best scoring chance of the period came on a give-and-go between Blayne Turnbull and Laura Stacey. After taking a return pass from Stacey close to the U.S. net, Turnbull’s backhand was turned away by Frankel.
The victory improves Canada’s record in Saskatchewan to 10-2 and 3-0 in games in Regina.
Heading into Friday’s game, the U.S. won the first three games of the series (3-1 on Nov. 8 in Tempe; 5-2 on Nov. 11 in Los Angeles; and, 3-2 in overtime on Dec. 14 in Kitchener, Ont.) Canada responded with victories in the next two games (3-2 in a shootout on Dec. 16 in Sarnia, Ont.; and, 4-2 on Feb. 7 in Saskatoon).
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 9, 2024.