Sunday afternoon the US Women’s National Team played Canada at the Xcel Energy Center as part of the Time is Now Tour. There was an official attendance count of 9,098, according to @BorMN, and the crowd was ready to see some of the best hockey in the world. The game was also broadcast on NBCSN and live streamed through the NBC Sports App, so there were a lot of different ways to watch.
The US put Maddie Rooney in goal, while Canada started Shannon Szabados. Canada may have gotten the first shot on the board, but first period belonged to the Americans as they had so many amazing chances on goal and outshot Canada 10-4. However, Szabados foiled every one of them. Emily Clark took a tripping penalty at 5:07 and on the resulting power play Brianna Decker nearly put the puck through the backdoor on the left side. Then at 7:58 Marie-Philip Poulin took a hooking penalty. This time Hannah Brandt lost her stick, regained it, and then nearly poked the puck into goal while pressuring Szabados before being hauled away in a headlock.
Dani Cameranesi shot high from the left circle then raced down to the crease in an attempt to put in her rebound. Then a Canadian had a breakaway, but Rooney denied her. Agosta Meghan also made a solid attempt on the US’s goal as well. As the puck slid back toward the Canadians’ crease, Kendall Coyne leapt past the defenders and put a shot on goal from the doorstep, which Szabados also denied. In the last seconds of the period Haley Irwin took a hooking penalty at 19:54, which carried over into second period before expiring.
The first solid chance the US had second period came when Szabados was down, but she still somehow managed to twist her body and keep the puck out. Then Micah Zandee-Hart took a hooking minor that was delayed long enough for the US to pull Rooney and score. The goal came when Alex Carpenter fed the puck into the slot from the right circle and Megan Keller banged it home at 1:20. Then the power play started, but the US was unable to convert again. Meghan Duggan went to the box at 3:37 for holding and the US killed their first penalty by keeping them out of their zone.
Natalie Spooner nearly knocked the puck in from just to the left of the crease, which kicked off a Canadian blizzard that Rooney weathered through with a quick toe save and several shots to the chest. Jennifer Wakefield had a nice attempt down the right side, with Kacey Bellamy shadowing her the entire way, which went wide. Then Poulin made a couple attempts on Rooney as well. Haley Skarupa earned a slashing penalty at 14:31 that the US killed, despite continued Canadian pressure. However, a turnover to Agosta a breakaway down the left side, shoot into Rooney. When the puck ricocheted off the goaltender, it landed on Poulin’s stick whereupon she drove it home from between the circles, tying the game at 17:52. Coyne tried a wrap around attempt and Jocelyne Larocque hurled her to the ice for her efforts. The referees called Larocque for roughing at 19:27 and for the second time in the game the US started a period on the power play.
Even with the skater advantage third period the US had lost the fire they had when the game started. Canada’s shot count had crept up a little second period, but they had more than double the US’s shots third period. Rooney made a couple of quick saves and Amanda Pelkey made a solid attempt on goal with Duggan’s help. Then Kali Flanagan took a slashing penalty at 7:12. Emily Pfalzer had a breakaway down the right side and attempted a wrap around for a shortie, but the defense rebuffed her. Some back and forth occurred with a couple US players losing their sticks before Bellamy earned a holding penalty for hauling Wakefield down along the boards at 11:47. It was a quite penalty, save for Cameranesi breaking into Canada’s zone with the puck and then turning around to flee with it.
Gigi Marvin took a fairly weak holding penalty at 16:16. The Canadians threw everything they could at Rooney on their power play, but like on all the others, they failed. Kelly Pannek nearly deflected her teammate’s shot into goal though Szabados’s uncanny skill kept the puck out. Though Bellamy’s shot from the center would have solved her if Hilary Knight had been just a little farther back at the crease for the tip in.
Regulation ended with the teams still tied at one, the US just barely outshooting Canada 28-25, which sent the national teams to 3-on-3 overtime. As soon as Rebecca Johnston took the puck from the US, she carried it down the center and made a right pass to Brianne Jenner in the circle. With the first shot in overtime Jenner buried it top shelf, winning the game for Canada 2-1.
The US have a few more games against Canada in their tour. The next will be on December 5th in Winnipeg on 7pm CT and will be broadcast on the NHL Network. Then these national teams head to San Jose, California, for a game on December 15th at 9pm CT. This game will be broadcast on NBCSN and live streamed through the NBC Sports App. Finally the pair face off on December 17th, in Edmonton at 6pm CT and shown on the NHL Network. It should be a wild ride to finish off the Time is Now Tour on the road to the 2018 Winter Olympics.