How’s that for an equivocating headline? I will be doing a post on how/whether this blog is particularly U.S. national team-centric, but I do also care about Canadian players and their development. Also, it’s important to note I saw the first game but not the last two so I’m relying on stats for some of my analysis.
So if you’re a Canadian fan, you can reflect, as many did on Twitter, that Canada won the series 2-1. There was much more tweeting by Canadians about this whole event, including the fact that Hockey Canada, which has a dedicated women’s team account, covered it. USA Hockey did not, and does not have a dedicated women’s team account. Even withstanding that hockey is Canada’s obsession (they tweeted like mad about the red/white competition within the senior national team camp, for Pete’s sake), that’s pretty disgraceful. Aside from the overall series victory, Canada scored at least two goals in every game. They managed to shut down Cianfarano following game one, which is a defensive accomplishment. Their goaltending from Sauve was good. They also ended up having balanced scoring rather than relying on one player to carry the load. I was impressed by the play of Rebecca Leslie for the Canadians on both ends of the ice.
For the U.S., it’s encouraging to see them improve over the course of the series. It took guts for O’Neil to come back into goal and win after dropping the opener and sitting for the second game. That win was tempered a bit by the Canadians starting their weaker goaltender. We clearly had some trouble solving Sauve. Lexie Laing had some good scoring success for the U.S., and I think Williamson will be a step-up offensive force in the future.
Special teams were kind of mediocre for both squads, with a 20% conversion rate on the power play. Canada took six penalties in the final game, which is pretty undisciplined. Overall, the teams were fairly evenly matched depending on which personnel was out there, but Canada right now has the slightly better A squad.