The Canadian women's hockey team is poised to sweep the United States after tying the 2023-24 rivalry series at three games apiece, winning 3-0 on Friday night in Regina.
Canada's uncanny ability to get back into the series is noteworthy. Last year, the team was down 3-0 before defeating the team with four straight goals to snatch the win from the United States.
That installment of the Women's Hockey Classic ended with the Canadiens taking control in the deciding seventh game, winning 5-0 after shutting out Anne-Renée Debiens in her home province of Quebec.
This time, PWHL Ottawa's Emerance Maschmeyer has closed the door on Canada. The Bruderheim, Alta., native stopped all 27 shots she faced and routinely had the Americans looking skyward on her way to a shutout.
Canada celebrates a goal against the United States during the third period of a Rivalry Series women's hockey tournament in Regina on Friday. (Liam Richards/The Canadian Press)
The first period saw the two teams combine for just eight shots, leaving the goalkeepers – Maschmaier and Ehren Frankel – relatively untested.
The tempo of the game picked up in the second half, as each team made at least eight shots and the USA got to 15. However, both goalkeepers stood tall.
Megan Keeler was awarded a penalty for body checking 32 seconds into the final frame, sending Canada on the power play.
In the ensuing opportunity, Marie-Philippe Poulin sent a clear pass to Natalie Spooner. Spooner raced to the net, and the PWHL's leading scorer powered past Frankel, giving Canada the lead and sending fans in Regina to their feet less than a minute into the third stanza.
Emily Clark and Sarah Nurse added insurance with goals of their own later in the period, and Canada won 3-0. Maschmeyer stopped all 27 shots as she earned her first win and close out the Rivalry Series.
Game 7 of the series heads south of the border as both teams take to the ice Sunday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. Taylor Hayes, Grace Zumwinkel, Maggie Flaherty and more Minnesota-born players will look to stifle Canada's comeback on home ice.
Meanwhile, Team Canada, powered by Poulin, Maschmeyer and Spooner, has the momentum and is aiming for its fourth straight victory in enemy territory.