Late an a Monday night, USA-Canada decided to keep everyone awake by stepping up the excitement level. While the game was scoreless through regulation there was no lack of suspense. Both teams had amazing opportunities and were only thwarted by some of the best goaltending seen all year.
The game started off without a whistle for five minutes. In the early going Canada had a chance to go up quickly when they put a bad angle shot in off Alex Rigsby that bounced off of her funny and nearly went in before she was able smother the puck. After that, Rigsby found her grove and never looked back. Midway through the frame Kendall Coyne was checked into the goalie but whistled for goalie interference.
The second period saw a few more great opportunities for Canada but Rigsby prooved herself equal on every try. Eventual hero Alex Carpenter had a short-handed breakaway that was stoned by Emerence Maschmeyer.
Things started to get chippy in the third period with all of the tension mounting. Each team would get their chances on the PP again, both with some great opportunities, but again the third turned into a goalie duel. At the very end of regulation after an American onslaught Team Canada had a rush up the ice with Brianne Jenner and Natalie Spooner coming so close to winning the game with under 10 seconds remaining. Although Rigsby stood firm Monique Lamoureux drew her second consecutive penalty with 8 seconds remaining in regulation.
The only broadcast available to Americans was the Canadian TSN feed. These broadcasters spent much of the lead up to the OT talking about how this last penalty would be the Americans undoing. But Rigsby would not blink, including on a monster shot form the American’s boogey man Marie-Philip Poulin. As the penalty expired the US was able to clear the puck up the ice for a Lamoureux break away but the linesman clipped the puck stopping that golden opportunity. Canada would get one more PP opportunity shortly after but the American PK was able to finish the night 6-6. Halfway through the final frame Halli Kryzaniak was called for an obvious hold, much to the dismay of the broadcast team. While the US put Maschmeyer under siege including a brilliant opportunity on the back door for Coyne that she was just unable to put away. Right after the penalty expired though Buffalo star Megan Bozek took one of her patented slap shots that got redirected beautifully by Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson to bounce off of Maschmeyer and sit inches off the goal line. Luckily for the Americans BC standout Alex Carpenter was sitting on the goal and pounced on the puck to tap it in for the gold moments before Maschmeyer was able to recover and stifle the US once again.
This game gives strong promise to the idea that the best is yet to come for the sport. After having this years NCAA championship, which was aired a week later on tape delay on Easter, draw more viewers then all the men’s games so far this year, and last years live championship featuring ratings powerhouse BU, plus the always high Olympic viewership numbers, there is strong evidence that there is more interest in the sport that can be effectively marketed, exactly what the NWHL is trying to do. On the NWHL note this game really showcased how truly dominant the Boston Pride are, and with their top two draft picks shining how as many feel the best is yet to come. Coyne, their top pick, got to play with both Knight and Decker as a proof of concept that worked phenomenally, there is some question where she ends up but playing with this line in Olympic prep would be the best for everyone. The second pick Emerence Maschmeyer is more doubtful to come, being an Alberta native many see her going for the Calgary Inferno since they have a two game per weekend schedule while the Pride only play one and have Brittany "The Otter" Ott firmly entrenched.