US women beat Canada 3-2 in shootout

Hilary Knight scored the lone shootout goal and the United

States women’s hockey team beat Canada for the third straight time

in their pre-Olympic exhibition series, 3-2 on Saturday.

Jessie Vetter stopped all three Canadian shootout attempts.

”This is good for us. We need to find a way to win,” U.S.

defenseman Megan Bozek said.

Kelli Stack and Alex Carpenter scored for the United States in

regulation, and Meghan Agosta-Marciano and Marie-Philip Poulin

countered for Canada.

After losing three straight to Canada, the Americans have won

the last three meeting by a combined 12-4 – 5-1 and 4-1 in the two

previous games.

”We like all kinds of different scenarios. Unfortunately, the

puck wasn’t bouncing as easily it was earlier this month,” said

Knight, who also had two assists. ”We’re an extremely talented

team, but we still have a long way to go and we’re going to get

there. We’re confident with our game plan. … You got to find a

way to win, dig deep, and we did that tonight.”

The teams will wrap up the exhibition series Monday night in

Toronto.

The Americans and Canadians are widely considered the Olympic

favorites. Canada has won three straight gold medals.

United States coach Katey Stone likes that the shootout is

entertaining for the fans, but is more pleased about how it made

her team rise to the occasion.

”It puts our kids on the hot seat, it puts their kids on the

hot seat and it’s time to execute and deliver,” Stone said. ”At

the end of the day, that’s what we’re going to have to do.”

Although the game was physical – six of the 15 penalties were

for checking, roughing or charging – the game did not feature the

late-game fisticuffs that has recently become part of the

series.

When the teams met eight days earlier in Grand Forks, N.D., a

melee in the final seconds to play resulted in 10 fighting majors

and a string of other infractions. All 10 skaters on the ice also

squared off in an October game in Burlington, Vt. They had another

big scrap in 2010.

”I don’t think there was any less intensity tonight, but it was

directed towards the game instead of anything else,” said Canada

coach Kevin Dineen, who has been in charge for less than two weeks.

Former coach Dan Church abruptly stepped down Dec. 12, the day of

the Americans’ 5-1 win in Calgary, Alberta.

”At the end, I’m not reinventing things and they’re still

playing very well,” Dineen said. ”Tonight was a little snapshots

of things that we’ve talked about since we’ve been here that we’re

starting to see.”

Trailing 2-0 after two periods, the Canadians rallied.

Agosta-Marciano scored off a faceoff midway through the third

period, and Poulin tied it 1:14 later on a power play.

Stack scored in the first and Carpenter had a power-play goal

with 8.3 seconds left in the second.

”We came out a little flat and they took it to us right away,”

Poulin said. ”We have one more game against them and for sure

we’ll start better.”