The U.S. women’s hockey team claimed its fourth straight Four Nations Cup title Saturday with a 5-2 win over host Canada.
Holders of the world and Olympic titles, the American women reinforced their status as the No. 1 women’s team in the world by beating their archrivals on home ice at the SaskTel Centre.
The last time Canada beat the U.S. in a tournament final was the 2014 Four Nations in Kamloops, B.C.
Hilary Knight scored twice for the U.S. with Brianna Decker, Melissa Samoskevich and Kendall Coyne Schofield each contributing a goal to Saturday’s victory. Dani Cameranesi assisted on a pair of goals.
Defenders Laura Fortino and Jaime Bourbonnais scored Canada’s goals. Starting goalie Shannon Szabados was pulled for Emerance Maschmeyer after the U.S. scored its fifth goal early in the third period.
Szabados made 18 saves followed by Maschmeyer’s two in relief.
The U.S. edged Canada 3-2 in a shootout in February’s Olympic final, which ended Canada’s run of gold at four straight.
U.S. coach Bob Corkum gave Alex Rigsby the nod in goal Saturday over Maddie Rooney, who backstopped the Americans in the Olympic final. Rigsby repelled 23-of-25 shots for the win.
Bourbonnais scored a power-play goal at 9:57 of the third period. She found a seam with a shot from the blue line over Rigsby’s shoulder.
Coyne Schofield scoring on a rebound 41 seconds into the third ended Szabados’ night.
Knight and Decker struck within 24 seconds of each other in the second period starting with Decker on an odd-man rush at 11:37.
Knight collected her second goal of the game redirecting a Sidney Morin shot over the shoulder of a screened Szabados.
Canada was outshot 16-4 in the opening period of a 2-1 loss to the U.S. in the preliminary round, but the host team’s defence was tighter to start Saturday’s game.
The Americans carried a 10-7 and 21-17 edge in shots at period breaks.
They led 2-1 heading into the second thanks to a Samoskevich tap-in at 16:21 of the first.
Fortino drew the hosts even at 3:49 weaving a wrist shot from the blue line through traffic.
Knight scored a wraparound goal at 1:28 of the first period.
She took a backhand pass from Cameranesi behind Canada’s net and shoved her own rebound under Szabados.
Finland scored a trio of third-period goals to defeat Sweden 4-2 for the bronze medal earlier Saturday.
The 2019 women’s world hockey championships April 4-14 will be held in Espoo, Finland.
The U.S. women have won four straight world titles.
Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press