Team USA and Team Canada closed out the first part of the Rivalry Series on Tuesday night. Three more games will be played in February in rinks on the West Coast, but for the time being, Team USA has a 2-0 lead.
The highlights are available on USA Hockey’s Youtube Channel. The Carpenter-Pannek-Kessel line kept rolling (also known as the Pannek! In the USA line), and all three players sit atop the series with three points apiece. Rookie Abby Roque is right behind them with two points. Six Canadians and seven Americans have a point each. Aerin Frankel made 27 saves in her her Team USA debut and ended the night with a .965 SV%.
USA 1-0 CANADA
The first goal for Team USA came on a 3-on-1 opportunity. It starts in Team USA’s zone, where the puck is freed into the neutral zone. 2 of 3 American forwards have the jump on the second defender for Team Canada, who had joined the offensive play. One Canadian defender is already back, watching the rush develop in the neutral zone.
All three American players make it into the Canadians’ zone before encountering any resistance from a Canadian player, allowing them to set up their 3-on-0. Abby Roque, on the left wing, has a choice to make--does she pass, maybe to Sydney Brodt on the right wing? Or does she shoot? Most players in this situation, particularly younger players, would elect to pass. Roque has the confidence, particularly after her first game, to take the shot, and with a rocket like hers it’s no wonder.
USA 2-0 CANADA
This play starts with Amanda Kessel carrying the puck into the zone. She leaves it for Carpenter, then gets it back and takes the puck around the back of the net, drawing a defender with her. When she drops the puck to Pannek in the slot, Team Canada knows that Pannek is there. Desbiens makes a pad save but allows a rebound into the center of the slot. In the frame below, everyone other than the defender on Kessel is looking at the puck in the crease. Alex Carpenter, on the left side, has the space to rush in and tap the rebound in.
USA 2-1 CANADA
Team Canada has set up in Team USA’s zone. Britta Curl is doing a good job blocking the passing lane with her stick so that Fast is unlikely to attempt to move the puck back to the point. However, Kacey Bellamy is stuck in a conundrum: she could challenge Renata Fast, or drop to block the shot that she knows is coming, but her D partner doesn’t have Ann-Sophie Bettez covered in the slot. She hesitates just long enough to allow Fast’s initial shot.
Fast’s shot makes it clear through to Bettez. Buchbinder has allowed just enough space between them for Ann-Sophie Bettez to get a stick on the puck and redirect it into the net.
The Rivalry Series will continue in February 2020 with three games over a week: Feb. 3 at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria, BC, Feb. 5 at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC, and Feb. 8 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA.
All stats taken from the Hockey Canada Rivalry Series page.