REGINA, Saskatchewan (AP) — Natalie Spooner opened the scoring on a power play 58 seconds into the third period and Canada won its third straight to send the Rivalry Series to a decisive seventh game, beating the United States 3-0 on Friday night.
Emerance Maschmeyer made 27 saves, and Emily Clark and Sarah Nurse added goals. Game 7 is Sunday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.
“We have a very special group, staff down to players and I think being able to lean on past experience is huge for us and our confidence,” Clark said. “Obviously, rosters are different, but there’s definitely a core group and core experience that you can lean on and just a belief that this group has done it before.”
Twenty-six seconds after U.S. defender Megan Keller was penalized for body-checking, Spooner took a centering pass from Marie-Philip Poulin on a rush, cut right to the slot and fired a wrist shot to the far side past goalie Aerin Frankel.
“I saw her, and I saw that she saw me, but I saw two sticks in the way and the way that she sauced it right over those two sticks, it was it was beautiful,” Spooner said. “She’s the best player in the world and she can pull plays out of nowhere and that’s kind of what she did. She got the puck and made stuff happen.”
Soon after, Canada killed off the last of the United States' five power plays.
“We had a lot of PKs, which we don’t want to have, but as a goalie, those are some fun moments to come up big for your team,” Maschmeyer said. “It feels good. My role is to come up big when we’re down a player. That’s my role. I enjoy PK.”
The United States had its best chance to beat Maschmeyer came early in the second period on a power play when Hayley Scamurra's close-range attempt slid through the crease.
“She started on time when maybe the rest of us didn’t and she kept us in it … she got that win for us,” Clark said about Maschmeyer. “She’s my best friend so I’m super happy for.”
The U.S. failed to wrap up the series for the third straight game and second time in three nights in Saskatchewan. On Wednesday night in Saskatoon, Canada won 4-2.
“Tonight, just wasn’t our night,” U.S. coach John Wroblewski said. “Canada kept pushing and was eventually rewarded in the third. We’re going to regroup and be ready for Game 7 on Sunday.”
The Americans opened the series in November with a 3-1 victory in Tempe, Arizona, and a 5-2 decision in Los Angeles. In December, they won 3-2 in Kitchener, Ontario, and Canada outlasted the U.S. 3-2 in a shootout in Sarnia, Ontario.
There was a 10-minute delay at the start of the second period because of a problem with the scoreboard system. After returning to the ice for the start of the period, the officials sent the teams back to their dressing rooms.
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The Associated Press