As someone who was born after 1980, it’s not that unusual to think about players who were playing at the historic Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid and were not born when the “Miracle on Ice” happened.
But when you realize that the players who played at the Canada-USA Women’s U18 series there last weekend were, at most, four years old when the movie “Miracle” came out... that can have you feeling old.
The United States opened the series with a 4–1 win over Canada. They took a 3–0 lead in the first period, and although Canada got a power play goal in the second period, that was as close as they got. The Americans netted an empty net goal.
Canada rebounded the next day with a 3–0 win on the back of two second period goals. Madelyn McArthur made 26 saves for the shutout.
In the finale on Sunday, Canada outshot the USA 33-13 but lost 3–1. The Americans scored two power play goals to open a 2-0 lead. Canada made it 2–1 in the third period, but American forward Hannah Bilka scored to restore the two-goal lead.
Thoughts and observations
- USA goaltender Lindsay Reed was 2–0 at this series in 2016, and was 2–0 with two shutouts at the U18 World Championships last year. This year, she was 2–0 again, allowing only two goals. Reed was outstanding in the Sunday game, making 32 of 33 saves. Canada had several two-on-ones and breakaways in the game, but the 6’0” Reed stood tall each time.
She says the experiences with the national team have helped her.
“It gave me a whole new level of confidence. I knew even if they scored I could bounce back and be better next time,” Reed said. “Everyone’s a leader in the locker room, but I feel like I could be a totally different leader and really speak up for my teammates.”
- The future is bright for both sides. Canada’s top two centers, Audrey-Anne Veillette and Sarah Fillier, both had flashes of brilliance in the series, and have huge amounts of skill. Claire Dalton had a team-high three points in the series.
On the American side, Abbey Murphy had two goals while Makenna Webster and Casey O’Brien both had multipoint series.
- This was typical Canada-USA hockey, even though these players were born after the rivalry ignited at the 1998 Winter Olympics. Both coaches literally used those exact words to describe the play of both teams.
“It’s very typical of a U.S.-Canada series so far, both teams learning a little bit about each other and both learning a little bit about themselves, and that’s the whole point of this series,” said USA head coach Joel Johnson after game two.
“This was a typical Canada-U.S.A. series,” said Canada coach Delaney Collins. “There were a lot of positives. The girls bought in to what we wanted to do; they executed well, we just didn’t finish on our chances today. And naturally, if you don’t do that, that’s the end result – it’s tough to win when you can’t score. I’m really proud of the girls, I’m really proud of the staff, and this is a good base for us as we head into World Championships in January.”
- Although she let in three goals on 13 shots in Sunday’s game, you can’t really blame McArthur. She had made 26 saves two days before in a shutout win, and two of the three U.S. goals were on the power play on perfectly placed shots, like this one from Madeline Wethington.
This series, while competitive, is ultimately an evaluation tool for both sides going into the World Championships. This year’s tournament will be held in Dmitrov, Russia, in January.