NJD:

5

NYR:

3

Final

TBL:

6

BUF:

5

Final

TOR:

4

DET:

2

Final

VGK:

3

CBJ:

2

Final

DAL:

4

STL:

1

Final

FLA:

3

EDM:

4

Final

Canadians and Americans Showcase Talent in U22 and Development Teams Series

Canadian Eloïse Caron battles American Rose Dywer for the puck
Photo by Erica Perreaux/Hockey Canada

August is filled with National Women’s hockey action, from the selection camps to the showcase series, capping off with the Women’s Worlds Championship kicking off in Denmark on August 25th. While the national teams have been set, the U18 and development teams for Canada and the United States have entertained fans with three-game showdowns. Anyone who follows women’s hockey can attest to the thrill and energy of a Canadian/American matchup on the ice, and these showcases lived up to that reputation.

First up, the U18 showcase, starting the series with a game that was everything you could ask for if you were looking for exciting hockey. In June, after the United States crushed Canada 7-0 in round-robin play of the U18 World Championship, the Canadians came back with an impressive effort to win 3-2 in the gold medal game against their biggest rivals. Carrying on from that match, both teams went back and forth on the scoresheet, culminating in Canada tying the game with less than a minute remaining in regulation and edging out the US in 7 rounds of the shootout.

The gap for game two was wider, with Canada besting the United States both on the shot clock and on the score sheet, walking away with a 4-0 win. Canadian Arianne Leblanc stopped all 25 shots to earn the shutout, while in the other crease, Layla Kemp turned away 44 of the whopping 47 shots she saw throughout the game.

Going for the series sweep, Canada did not lay off the gas as they dominated the United States by a final score of 7-2, getting two goals from Keria Hurry. The Americans also got the first powerplay goal of the three-game matchup for either team in the first period.

The goalies for the United States – Kemp and Annelies Bergmann – were peppered with 140 shots over three games, while their Canadian counterparts – Leblanc, Hannah Clark, and Farah Walker – faced a combined 71 shots. Another facet of the game to watch for both squads is the powerplay, with the teams only tallying one powerplay goal each despite the numerous chances (it’s well known that the bad blood on the ice between the two countries typically leads to multiple trips to the penalty box).

The other showcase consisted of the U22 development teams, whose games were much closer than the U18 matchups. Like the younger squads, game one also needed a shootout to decide the winner after Tessa Janecke of the United States potted a powerplay goal with two seconds left in the third to tie up the game. When overtime solved nothing, Canada once again triumphed in the shootout.

In game two, despite racking up 12 penalty minutes to Canada’s two, the US controlled the game and left the arena with a 4-1 win that evened the showcase series at one game apiece. Goaltender Callie Shanahan only faced 19 shots from the Canadians, while Hannah Murphy was much busier, seeing 36 shots and stopping 32. The Americans needed the bounce-back win after falling short the night before.

The rubber match was a classic United States/Canada game, close on special teams, the shot clock, and the scoreboard. Canada opened the powerplay scoring five minutes before surrendering two goals to the Americans to close out the first. Despite a flurry of shots in the third (19 – more than their first and second-period totals combined), the Canadians fell to their rivals from the south by a final score of 2-1, exactly the type of tight game that is synonymous with these two teams meeting on the ice.

Unlike the U18s, the powerplay wasn’t a weak spot for the U22 Americans, who managed four goals with the player advantage over the three games, including three in the first game. The Canadians struggled, only tallying one powerplay goal and one shorthanded marker. 2022 Olympic silver medalist Abbey Murphy stood out for the United States, notching a goal in all three games.

The two showcases were an excellent precursor to the Women’s World Championship set to kick off this coming Thursday. The United States faces Japan in the tournament’s first game, with Canada going up against Finland later in the day. After last year’s exciting conclusion, you won’t want to miss out on the action.

Courtney Adams

Covering the PHF/The Toronto Six for Inside the Rink

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