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2018 Winter Olympics: Lacasse shines in Olympic debut as Canada beats the USA

The two rivals put on a show in their first meeting of the Olympics

Ice Hockey - Winter Olympics Day 6 - United States v Canada Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Geneviève Lacasse watched a lot of Olympic hockey. She watched the first two games of these Olympics. She watched all of Canada's games in 2014. Tonight, she had her first chance to play. And it was worth the wait.

Lacasse was tremendous for Canada in her Olympic debut. She made 44 saves, including a penalty shot in the second period. Lacasse was part of the 2014 Olympic team but did not appear in a game as she was behind Shannon Szabados and Charline Labonté. Ann-Renée Desbiens and Szabados started the first two games for Canada.

It is always a treat when Canada and the United States play each other in women’s hockey, especially at the Winter Olympics, and the latest instalment was no exception.

The preliminary round finale lived up to the billing as Canada beat United States 2-1.

Without Lacasse, it would have been a different result.

A mad scramble in the dying seconds would be as close as the Americans would come to forcing overtime, and there was a review after the buzzer had sounded to confirm the final result.

Maddie Rooney got her second start for the United States and made 21 saves.

The Americans neutralized Canada's top line of Marie-Philip Poulin, Melodie Daoust and Meghan Agosta, leaving them frustrated for most of the game. Agosta did get a goal, but it was on the power play.

It looked like Canada opened the scoring in the first period, but the play was called dead due to a crease violation before Brigette Lacquette was able to put it past Rooney.

Both teams had a power play in the first period, but neither could get a goal.

Canada opened the scoring on the power play in the second period when Natalie Spooner made a tremendous no look pass to Meghan Agosta, who put Canada in front.

Agosta is playing in her fourth Olympics.

The Canadians made it 2-0 a few minutes later when Sarah Nurse broke in on the left wing and put a perfect shot past Maddie Rooney, short side.

Replays would show the goal may have been offside, but Team USA coach Robb Stauber did not challenge the play.

With the score 2-0, a scramble in front would lead to an American penalty shot. The referee ruled that Haley Irwin put their hand on the puck in the crease.

Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson would take the penalty shot, but Lacasse was able to make the save sliding across to stop the backhand.

Lacasse was brimming with confidence after making the key save.

Canada was outshot 18-6 in the second period, but would outscore the Americans 2-0.

The Americans would continue their strong play and start the third period off strong, getting a goal just 23 seconds into the period to cut the lead to 2-1. Kendall Coyne broke in and fired a shot past Lacasse.

Shortly after the goal, Amanda Pelkey had a huge chance to tie the game, but Lacasse came across with the pad to keep Canada in front.

It looked like Canada took a 3-1 lead midway through the final period, but it was ruled that Haley Irwin kicked it in, and it was disallowed after video review.

Canada had a pair of late third-period power plays but could not capitalize to extend their lead, including one that ended when Marie-Philip Poulin took a penalty.

The USA would get a chance on the ensuing power play, including Hilary Knight fanning on a shot, and Lacasse diving across to make an incredible save.