US women beat Canada despite quick turnaround
BY LARRY LAGE
AP Hockey Writer
PLYMOUTH — Brianna Decker broke a scoreless tie late in the second period and Nicole Hensley stopped 18 shots, lifting the U.S. over Canada 2-0 on Friday night in the world championship opener for both teams.
The Americans started fast and strong just three days after averting a boycott with a four-year deal with USA Hockey.
They controlled play all night against their rivals. Gigi Marvin gave the U.S. a two-goal cushion early in the third, and its swarming defense shut out a high-powered offense.
Shannon Szabados made some spectacular saves to keep the Canadians in the game and finished with 28 saves, but they couldn’t get a puck past Hensley.
The two teams are heavy favorites to meet again Friday in the gold medal game. If that doesn’t happen, it would be stunning and unprecedented.
Since the first International Ice Hockey Federation women’s world championship in 1990, the U.S. and Canada have not allowed another country to advance to the finals. The Americans beat the Canadians last year at the world championship, winning the eight-nation tournament for the third straight time over Canada and sixth time in seven opportunities.
They will, though, have to go through the motions in the eight-nation tournament.
The U.S. will face Russia and Canada will look to bounce back against Finland today.
Canadian players had voiced support for the Americans in their battle for better wages and conditions in an at-times contentious off-ice battle.