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From Christy Jeffries, USA Hockey

Team USA’s Darwitz Records Three Points in Losing Effort
 
LEKSAND, Sweden Despite a three-point effort by captain Natalie Darwitz (Eagan, Minn.), the U.S. Women’s Select Team dropped a 6-3 decision to Canada at the 2007 Women’s Four Nations Cup here today at the Ejendals Arena.

Canada jumped out to an early lead, netting a trio of goals in the opening 10 minutes of the game before Team USA came back late in the frame to make it 3-1. After the Canadians added three more tallies in the second period, the United States powered back in the final frame, scoring a pair of goals and out shooting Canada by a 14-6 margin.

“We didn’t start the way we wanted to and were put in a tough position being down 3-0,” said Jackie Barto, head coach for Team USA. “But we really started to come on as the game went on, particularly in the third period. We showed good character as we finished and I hope to keep that going for Saturday’s game against Finland.”

In the opening period, Jennifer Botterill put Canada on the board first at the 2:55 mark when she slid in Caroline Ouellette’s rebound that richocheted off the post. The Canadians then increased their lead by two, as Hayley Wickenheiser lifted one high over U.S. netminder Jessie Vetter’s (Cottage Grove, Wis.) stick side from the right faceoff circle at 8:07, then Gillian Apps put one in on the power play at 8:07.

Team USA scored with 34 seconds remaining in the first frame to cut the Canadian lead to 3-1. During the United States’ first power-play chance of the outing, Darwitz skated the puck from the boards through the left faceoff circle and found Erika Lawler (Fitchburg, Mass.) at the left post. Lawler slapped it in at 19:26 for a 3-1 score heading into the second period.

Canada added to its lead in the middle stanza, scoring first at 1:02 on a Jayna Hefford breakaway. After Colleen Sostorics found the back of the net from the right point at 3:24, Vetter was relieved in goal by Megan Van Beusekom (Loretto, Minn.). Canada’s Gina Kingsbury closed out the period’s scoring with a breakaway tally at 15:16 for a 6-1 score.

In the final frame, Team USA bounced back with two more power-play goals. Darwitz scored at 5:10 on her own rebound off a feed from Julie Chu (Fairfield, Conn.) during a 5-on-3 situation. Lawler closed out the game’s scoring at the 11:19 mark, putting a backhand shot high to the far side of the net for the 6-3 final count.

Vetter and Van Beusekom combined for 26 saves in net for Team USA, while Sami Jo Small stopped 32 for Canada.

The U.S. Women’s Select Team returns to action on Saturday afternoon (Nov. 10) when it takes on Finland at Ejendals Arena in the third and final round-robin game of the tournament for both teams. Game time is set for 1 p.m. (7 a.m. EST).

NOTES: Natalie Darwitz was named the U.S. Player of the Game … Team USA was 3-for-6 on the power play, while Canada was 1-for-5 with the man advantage … Team USA out shot Canada, 35-32 … Today’s game marked Megan Van Beusekom’s first game against Canada … Joining Jackie Barto on the coaching staff as assistant coaches are Paul Flanagan, head women’s ice hockey coach at St. Lawrence University, and Kevin Houle, head women’s ice hockey coach at SUNY Plattsburgh … Four other USA Hockey teams are seeing international action this week, including the U.S. National Under-17 and Under-18 Teams, the U.S. Men’s Select Team and the U.S. Junior Select Team. For more information, visit usahockey.com.

GAME SUMMARY

Scoring By Period
USA 1 0 2 — 3
CAN 3 3 0 — 6

First Period – Scoring: 1, CAN, Botterill (Ouellette, Hefford), 2:55; 2, CAN, Wickenheiser (Kellar), 7:37; 3, CAN, Apps (Bechard, Sostorics), 8:07 (pp); 4, USA, Lawler (Darwitz), 17:59 (pp). Penalties: USA, Potter (hooking), 7:51; USA, Duggan (high-sticking), 10:09; CAN, Johnston (slashing), 17:59.

Second Period – Scoring: 5, CAN, Hefford (Collins, Botterill), 1:02; 6, CAN, Sostorics (Slusar, Wickenheiser), 3:24; 7, CAN, Kingsbury (Apps), 15:16. Penalties: CAN, Apps (hooking), 12:49; CAN, Apps (hooking), 19:35.

Third Period – Scoring: 8, USA, Darwitz (Chu, Weiland), 5:10 (5×3); 9, USA, Lawler (Darwitz, Duggan), 11:19 (pp). Penalties: CAN, Ouellette (body-checking), 3:38; CAN, Kellar (cross-checking), 4:57; USA, Duggan (interference), 5:34; USA, McKenzie (slashing), 7:53; CAN, Sostorics (body-checking), 10:38; USA, Resor (hooking), 11:59.

Shots by Period  1 2 3 Total
USA   13 8 14 35
CAN   12 14 6 32
           
Goaltenders (SH/SV)   1 2 3 Total
USA, Vetter, 23:24   12-9 3-1 x-x 15-10
USA, Van Beusekom, 36:36   x-x 11-10 6-6 17-16
CAN, Small, 60:00   13-12 8-8 14-12 35-32 

Power Play: USA 3-6; CAN 1-5
Penalties: USA 5-10; CAN 6-12
Officials: Referee – Laurla Paivi; Linesmen – Annica Floden, Therese Bjorkman

Team USA 2007 Women’s Four Nations Cup Schedule & Results
November 7-11 Leksand, Sweden Ejendals Arena

Date              Opponent Time (Local/EST)
Wed., Nov. 7   Sweden    W, 4-0
Thurs., Nov. 8 Canada      L, 3-6
Sat., Nov. 10   Finland       1 p.m./7 a.m.
Sun., Nov. 11  Bronze-Medal Game 1p.m./7 a.m.
                       Gold-Medal Game 5 p.m./11 a.m.