Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Big crowd watches U.S. women fight past Canada 4-1

Sun Valley’s Knight adds another key goal


By JEFF CORDES
Express Staff Writer

     After falling behind 1-0 in the first period, the U.S. Women’s National hockey team tallied four unanswered goals to beat Canada 4-1 at the Ralph Engelstad Arena at Grand Forks, N.D. Friday, Dec. 20.

     It was another U.S.-Canada match-up featuring a fight.

     The U.S. outshot Canada 31-18 and received several key saves from goaltender Molly Schaus (Natick, Mass.) in front of the largest crowd (5,559) ever for a women’s game in North Dakota, according to Web site report from the U.S. national women’s team.

     The referees handed out 10 fighting majors and a string of other infractions after the melee with nine seconds to play.

     The two teams also fought in October late in a game at Burlington, Vt., with all 10 skaters squaring off late in the third period. They had another big scrap in 2010.

     It was the second straight U.S. women’s hockey win over Canada in five meetings so far during this fall’s “Bring on the World Tour” run-up to the 2014 Winter Olympic Games at Sochi, Russia.

     Previously, Canada had beaten the U.S. 3-2, 6-3 and 4-2, but the U.S. bounced back with a 5-1 victory Dec. 12 at Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

     On Friday, Monique Lamoureux (Grand Forks, N.D.) and Jocelyne Lamoureux (Grand Forks, N.D.) returned to their hometown and notched two points each. Both players had one goal and one assist and their linemate, Meghan Duggan (Danvers, Mass.) added a pair of assists in the game.

     Goalie Schaus stopped 17 of the 18 shots she faced.

     According to the Associated Press, Jocelyne Lamoureux took exception to Brianne Jenner's late run at Josephine Pucci, setting off another fiery round in the U.S.-Canada women’s hockey rivalry.

     Lamoureux nailed Jenner with an illegal bodycheck and, seconds later, Lamoureux, sister Monique and U.S. teammates Hilary Knight, Gigi Marvin and Kacey Bellamy were brawling with Canada's Jenner, Melodie Daoust, Jocelyne Larocque, Meaghan Mikkelson and Vicki Bendus.

     One of the goal scorers in the U.S. win was Sun Valley’s Knight, 24, the 5-11 forward from the University of Wisconsin and Boston Blades.

     “We worked hard and got rewarded for it. Nice to be back before our fans in the U.S. It was an extremely competitive game,” Knight said later in a Web site interview.

     “I’m very proud of our kids and the effort they put forward tonight,” said Katey Stone, head coach of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team. “Everyone played well, starting with our goaltender, and we built off the energy in the building.”

     Haley Irwin opened the scoring for Canada at 17:22 of the first period, redirecting a shot from Caroline Ouellette past Schaus. Monique Lamoureux responded for the U.S., tying the score late in the period, at 19:49.

     She took a feed from behind the net from Jocelyne Lamoureux and held onto the puck as she came across the crease and patiently waited until she had an open net, firing the puck past Canadian goaltender Shannon Szabados.

     Team USA expanded its lead in the second period, adding three goals in the frame.

     Brianna Decker (Dousman, Wis.) took a cross-ice feed from Gigi Marvin (Warroad, Minn.) at 8:37 and powered a shot from the face-off circle past Szabados to make it 2-1.

     At 13:24, Knight scored on a goalmouth scramble, swiping a loose puck into an open net to stretch the lead to 3-1. Jocelyne Lamoureux collected a long rebound and found the back of the net at 15:35 to make it 4-1. The third period was scoreless.

     “I think we came in and defended our teammates, did what we had to do,” Jocelyne Lamoureux told the Associated Press.

     The former University of North Dakota star, playing in her home rink, added, “It's always going to be heated (against Canada). The intensity+y is always going to be there.”

     “I’m not a proponent of fighting in hockey, but I am a proponent of standing up for yourself,” coach Stone said. “We will not be pushed around.”

     Emotions began boiling over midway through the third period after a pair of roughing penalties against Decker and Canada’s Meghan Acosta-Marciano.

     “We’re prepared to play whatever game we have to play,” Stone said. “We’ll go hard, we’ll play clean, but if the game gets out of hand we'll manage that as well.”

     Young girls in the crowd cheered wildly as Jocelyne Lamoureux was led to the penalty box. The Grand Forks native recalled watching as youngster when the U.S. women's team played a game at the arena before the 2002 Olympics.

     “I remember thinking, this is where I want to be and this is what I want to do,” Lamoureux said. “If I can do that for someone else and our team can be an inspiration for some of these little girls that came out here tonight, then that’s pretty cool.”

     Kevin Dineen, fired last month as coach of the NHL's Florida Panthers, directed the Canadian team for the first time after taking over for Dan Church.

     Church resigned Dec. 12, hours before the two teams met in Calgary. He said he felt others lacked confidence in his ability to lead Canada to a fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal.

     “It was up and down,” Dineen said about Friday’s 4-1 loss. “We had some good spurts and we fell off. Moving forward, we’ll look for a little more consistency out of this group. Certainly there’s some skill out there.”

     Scoring for the U.S. in that pivotal 5-1 win Dec. 12 were Knight, Alex Carpenter (North Reading, Mass.), Brianna Decker, Meghan Duggan (Danvers, Mass.) and Megan Bozek (Buffalo Grove, Ill.).

     The U.S. Women's National Team returns to action Saturday, Dec. 28 when it plays Canada again in St. Paul, Minn.




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