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Canada suffers OT loss to Americans in final group stage game


Canada lost a heartbreaking, gut-wrenching contest to their arch-rivals the US on Monday night in Utica losing in overtime to end the group stage.

When Canada plays the US in any hockey event you know the stakes are high, you have two of the biggest hockey nations going at it and once again it didn’t disappoint. Canada lost 1-0 in overtime thanks to a goal from Kirsten Simms who managed to find herself on a three on one and managed to get puck and score the only goal of the contest.

“I don’t think we are overly stressed about it,” Canada head coach Troy Ryan said post-game. “It’s a really good game to end the preliminary round at the world championship. You come into the game obviously trying to win but you’re also trying to learn as much about the opposition in order to continue getting better. If you look at the game, I thought they were all over us at times in the first period. They looked fresh and they had a ton of speed. I think we learned a little bit about ourselves but also about them. That’s just how hockey goes, you’re going to get momentum and they’re going to get momentum. I thought we found ways to get it back in the second period. I loved our penalty kill to keep that momentum in the second and then the third was back and forth.”

You know both teams were going to give everything and as usual, sparks flew early when off the opening faceoff Renata Fast threw Kendall Coyne Schofield into the boards hard. Despite that the Americans came out hard in the opening frame throwing everything at the net and Anne Renee Desbiens who was playing in a back-to-back situation.

Despite that Desbiens was the best player on the ice the entire night stopping everything at will and after the game was selected as the player of the game alongside American netminder Aerin Frankel.

“It definitely was very physical,” Ryan added. “The refs let us play and we played a lot of five-on-five and that’s kind of how you want to play them, five-on-five. Unfortunately, it didn’t go our way at the end but we can be proud of the effort we put forward tonight, we’ll learn and then get better.”

Desbiens even gave her assessment of the contest and spoke to the level of physicality both teams brought in what could be the game of the tournament so far.

“Obviously, as a goalie, your goal is to always give your team an opportunity to win so that was my objective today,” Desbiens said. “The girls did a really good job in front of me keeping them to the outside and making sure I could see the puck, so hats off to them on that, making sure they made my life easier back there and then when they needed a save I guess I was there to make sure we had a chance to win.”

The second period is when Canada bounced back but was also stymied by PWHL Boston goaltender Aerin Frankel who was matching Desbiens save for save.

“For us, the first period was not our best,” Marie Phillipe Poulin mentioned post-game. “We have to find ways right away in the first shift to put pressure on them, put them deep. We found a way in the second, but we have to find a way right away in the first period. Special teams are so important – our penalty kill did an unbelievable job tonight but on the powerplay, we have to capitalize. We have to find ways to put pucks on net and get the momentum, even if we don’t score at least, we have momentum, we have to retrieve pucks and be better. It’s never fun to lose, it’s part of the process, it’s one day at a time this game is over and now it’s off to the quarterfinal.”

Despite the high level of physicality and intensity, only six penalties were called the entire game as the mix of Canadian and American referees put their whistles away and let them play to a sellout crowd.

The goal in overtime will however spark some controversy as on the play Canada was attacking the US in the offensive zone and Brianne Jenner was taken down which led to the three-on-one offensive counterattack and Caroline Harvey found Simms who fired a shot so fast Desbiens didn’t even have a chance to move before the puck was in the net.

Canada will now face Sweden on Thursday in the Quarterfinals in the only confirmed matchup after Sweden was stunned by Germany also losing 1-0 earlier in the day.

Featured Image ©️ Lori Bolliger Photography

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