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Canada downs U.S. 4-3 in a shootout at women’s worlds; quarterfinals up next

BRAMPTON, Ont. — Jamie Lee Rattray scored the winner in the ninth round of the shootout as Canada beat the United States 4-3 in the final preliminary round game for both countries at the women’s world hockey championship Monday.

The powerhouses now turn their attention to Thursday’s quarterfinals after finishing 1-2 atop Group A.

Sarah Fillier, with a goal and an assist, Marie-Philip Poulin and Laura Stacey scored in regulation for Canada. Ann-Renee Desbiens got the victory in net.

Hannah Bilka, with a goal and an assist, Hilary Knight and Amanda Kessel replied for the Americans. Aerin Frankel took the loss.

Rattray buried the winner on a slick deke after Desbiens and Frankel went toe-to-toe through eight rounds of the shootout before being mobbed by teammates.

Canada led 3-1 with 2:27 left in regulation when Stacey scored into an empty net.

But the U.S. was far from done.

Knight scored with 39 seconds remaining on a rebound to get within one — the scoreboard in the arena lost power during the play, which was challenged for offside — before Kessel added an improbable equalizer with 3.4 seconds left on the clock to stun the crowd and force overtime.

The U.S. then killed off a penalty to Knight in the extra period before the American captain was robbed by Desbiens on a break later in OT.

Black-clad Canada snapped a 1-1 tie on a 5-on-3 power play three minutes into the second in front of a raucous home crowd when Poulin blasted a one-timer upstairs on Frankel after set-up from Erin Ambrose.

Natalie Spooner then tipped a point shot off the post with the teams playing 5-on-4 as the U.S. took four straight penalties in the middle period, but the Canadians were unable to build on that 2-1 lead heading to the third.

Canada killed a Fillier penalty early in the third and were subsequently assessed its second delay-of-game infraction of the night, but the U.S. bailed out its rival when a botched line change led to an infraction for too many players on the ice to set up the wild finish.

Some fans took advantage of the spring weather in this suburb west of Toronto to tailgate in the parking lot a few hours before puck drop at the jam-packed CAA Centre.

The Canadians snapped the Americans’ streak of five straight world titles at the pandemic-delayed 2021 event in Calgary before securing Olympic gold at the 2022 Beijing Games.

Canada then picked up a second consecutive victory at the worlds in September in Denmark for the program’s third podium-topping performance in 12 months.

The U.S. entered 5-1 against Canada over the teams’ last six preliminary round meetings at the event, including a 5-2 victory in Denmark.

Members of the Canadian and American rosters remain bitter rivals on the ice, but tensions have cooled away from the rink as many work together as members of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association (PWHPA), which has stated goal of starting a league in 2023-24.

This past season saw players from both countries take part in the PWHPA’s Dream Gap Tour — a four-team exhibition circuit that criss-crossed the continent with rosters that saw many international foes skate on the same side for the first time.

The countries also played a seven-game Rivalry Series — the rosters weren’t uniform throughout — that stretched from November to February.

Canadian head coach Troy Ryan said over the weekend he’s happy to see players from both sides of the border working together to grow the sport — now and for the generations to come.

“This whole idea of that Canada has to hate U.S. and the U.S. has to hate Canada to compete, it’s just not good,” he said. “We’re still trying to build a good team atmosphere, but we wanted it to include competing against each other and knowing that translates to what they’re trying to accomplish off the ice with the pro league.

“The times where you really gotta hate your opponent to compete and to battle against them is just gone. You can have great relationships with people and still want to beat them.”

The report by The Canadian Press was first published April 10, 2023.


Follow @JClipperton_CP on Twitter.

Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press