Four Nations Cup Day 1: Canada, USA shine

Canada and the United States kicked off Four Nations on a high note, while Sweden and Finland struggled on the first day of games.

The Four Nations Cup kicked off today with two games on the schedule. Canada took on host Finland while the United States battled it out with Sweden. It was exactly the start the Canadians and Americans were hoping for, while the Swedes and Finns found themselves with something to be desired.

Maschmeyer shuts the door: CAN vs FIN

Rebecca Johnston got the scoring started early for Canada with a nice backhand tip and a little help from Laura Fortino and Marie-Philip Poulin. She brought the red and white up 1-0. Bridgette Lacquette padded the lead with a few minutes left in the period with a shot from the point that found twine, bringing Canada up 2-0.

The end of the first brought a pair of penalties, one for Finland as Petra Nieminen went off for a tripping call before Laura Stacey gave Finland a power play to start the second after going off for slashing.

Finland padded their penalty minute total with six minutes on three infractions in the second. Canada had one infraction and found themselves in the box for two minutes. Despite the man advantages, and putting 13 shots on goal, Canada couldn’t capitalize.

At about the six minute mark in the third, Natalie Spooner scored what would be the eventual game-winning goal, with a little help from Johnston and Poulin. Finland peppered the shots, but couldn’t convert anything, and the final buzzer put a win in the books for Canada.

Emerance Maschmeyer stopped all 18 shots she faced, and the Four Nations rookie earned her fourth national team shutout in just her tenth career game. Noora Räty took the loss in net for the Finns, allowing three goals on 35 shots. Canada will take on Sweden on Wednesday.

Rigsby says no: USA vs SWE

Megan Bozek and Hannah Brandt got the lead started early, with Bozek opening the scoring and Brandt following up less than five minutes later. Brandt’s goal came on a power-play as Olivia Carlsson sat for hooking, and it gave Haley Skarupa her second helper of the night. USA captain Meghan Duggan gave the States a healthy 3-0 lead with three seconds left of the period.

Swedish goaltender Lovia Berndtsson saw increased pressure in the second as the USA increased their pressure. With help from Kendall Coyne, Hilary Knight, who hasn’t played a game yet this year for NWHL team the Boston Pride, got her name on the scoresheet and increased the American lead to four. Less than ten minutes later, Knight got her name on the sheet again, assisting on a goal scored by Monique Lamoureux-Morando. Brianna Decker also got her name on the sheet with a secondary assist.  Lamoureux-Morando’s goal padded the lead to five. Brandt ended the scoring for the night with help from Skarupa’s third assist and Alex Carpenter. Final score; USA 6, Sweden 0.

Alex Rigsby got the nod for the Americans in net and she kicked off her fourth Four Nations Cup with a shutout, stopping all eight shots she faced.  Lovisa Berndtsson took the loss in net for the Swedes, making 27 saves.

The USA will face Finland next on Wednesday at 12:30 ET.