What: The final three games of the Rivalry Series between Team USA and Canada will get underway this week, from British Columbia and California.
- Monday, Feb. 3, at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT in Victoria, B.C.
- Wednesday, Feb. 5, at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT in Vancouver, B.C.
- Saturday, Feb. 8, at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT in Anaheim, Calif./
The Series So Far
Team USA won the first two games in December, by scores of 4-1 and 2-1. In the first game, Amanda Kessel and Alex Carpenter both picked up a goal and an assist, and Abby Roque scored her first senior international goal. Alex Cavallini made 32 of 33 saves; at the other end, Geneviève Lacasse stopped 27 of 31 shots for Canada.
In game two, current Northeastern junior goaltender Aerin Frankel stole the show for the United States, stopping 27 of 28 shots and holding tight to the one-goal lead in the third period, when Team USA was outshot by a 12-3 margin. Roque and Carpenter scored again in that second game, and Ann-Sophie Bettez notched her first international goal for the Canadians.
Since we’re right in the thick of the college season, both teams elected not to take any current college players for these three games. For Team USA, that means two of their biggest difference-makers from December, Roque and Frankel, won’t be playing this week.
Who to Watch
Alex Carpenter was a standout up front for the Americans in the first two games of the series and is in the midst of a strong season with KRS Vanke Rays in the ZhHL. I’d look for a big performance from Annie Pankowski, too, particularly in the final game in Anaheim. She’s a Laguna Hills native and played for the Jr. Lady Ducks program growing up.
Sophia Shaver is another interesting name for me for the Americans. She showed during her career at Wisconsin that she can contribute from practically any line. We’ll also get a chance to see Savannah Harmon on D again; while she likely isn’t a top defender at this level, she can make a difference, and should get some opportunities to show it and push for a spot on the Worlds roster.
For Canada, Jessie Eldridge may be a lesser-known name on this roster but she’s a super intriguing player. She had a great career with Colgate in the NCAA and has been given a few chances to show what she can do with Team Canada, going back to development team camp in August and the National Women’s Team Fall Festival in September. I would imagine the coaching staff has liked what they’ve seen from her throughout the year; we’ll see how much ice time she gets in these games and how she handles her role.
Ann-Renée Desbiens is definitely someone to watch in net for Canada; she made 19 of 21 saves back in game two of the Rivalry Series, and turned in a stellar performance in the Elite Women’s 3-on-3 competition at the NHL All-Star Weekend, against a good chunk of the Team USA players she’ll face this week. Up front, Victoria Bach has scored a few goals this year with the senior team, and Loren Gabel and her wicked shot are always worth watching.