Emerance Maschmeyer wasted little time introducing herself to Canadian hockey fans. Last year's third goaltender got the start in this year's tournament opener and made 35 saves, several of the unbelievable variety, in Canada's 3-1 loss to the United States.
Maschmeyer was instrumental in keeping the game scoreless through two periods, even though the USA outshot Canada throughout the game. She made several saves on Hilary Knight but her best of the night may have been in the third period with a one-goal lead when she stretched out against Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson.
Canada opened the scoring in the opening minute of the third period when the puck found its way to Laura Fortino after a mad scramble in front. Fortino made no mistake, rifling a puck past Alex Rigsby. Marie-Philip Poulin and Natalie Spooner got assists on the goal meaning that all three CWHL MVP candidates were in on the goal.
After several opportunities and grade A scoring chances, Knight finally beat Maschmeyer, the Harvard goaltender, with a perfect shot to tie the game at one.
The USA had six power plays in the game, including two five-on-threes but it was only on their last opportunity that they finally converted. Brianna Decker put a Monique Lamoureux rebound past Maschmeyer to put the USA up 2-1.
Knight would score her second of the game into an empty net after Canada would pressure to try and tie the game.
Canada was not without their opportunities to tie the game. They hit the crossbar twice in the third period, once by defender Halli Krzyzaniak and once by Les Canadiennes forward, and team captain, Marie-Philip Poulin who almost benefitted from a gift giveaway right in the slot.
The loss means that Canada will likely fight for second spot in Group A. The first two teams get byes into the semi-final. Canada plays Russia tonight at 10:30 p.m. while the USA plays Finland at 6:30 p.m. Both games will be on TSN.
Canada did not dress Jamie Lee Rattray and Tara Watchorn while Kacey Bellamy was not dressed for the US. Les Canadiennes Charline Labonté was the backup goaltender.
- I had not seen Maschmeyer play a game before tonight, and she really impressed me. She was square to the puck on almost every scoring chance, even the goals that got by her which is impressive for such a young player. The only flaw I could point out would be that she plays deep in her net and it makes her look small but it didn't seem to affect her.
- The US defence was able to make Canada's best forwards look ordinary. There were flashes of brilliance to be sure from Poulin, Spooner and others, but for the most part the US cut down on scoring chances and controlled the puck more than the Canadians.
- Canada's penalty kill was very good, killing two different five-on-threes. It's not a position Canada wants to be in, but it's nice to know that they can stop the Americans in those situations. However, the more opportunities they give, the more chances they eventually break through just like they did on the game winning goal.
- If these two teams were to meet again, I would be surprised if it is the same goaltending matchup. Both teams have capable backups who will get playing time and a chance to win the starting job.
For details and highlights from Monday's other games, check out Pension Plan Puppets recap here.