VANCOUVER, BC – Hilary Knight and her U.S. teammates carried a decade-old grudge into Game 4 of their Rivalry Series with Canada, and settled an old score.
The Americans earned a 3-1 win over Canada and took a 3-1 lead in the five-game series.
Knight set up Hayley Scamurra for the winning goal in the third period and added an empty-netter to seal the victory, quieting the pro-Canada crowd at Rogers Arena.
Knight said that her mind was on her experience at the 2010 Winter Olympics, when Canada's women won gold the last time the two teams faced each other in Vancouver.
"Had some back and forth after the gold-medal loss with the fans up here," she said. "We were told to go back to our country and die, so I took it pretty personally.
"It's salt from 10 years ago, but obviously a celebration. There's a lot of passion and I think that's what brings out the best of both teams."
Dani Cameranesi also scored for the U.S. Jocelyne Larocque scored for Canada.
Goalie Katie Burt, making her first start for the U.S. national team in more than a year, recorded the win in net.
The teams were playing for the second time in three nights after Canada got its first win of the series, a 3-2 overtime victory on Monday in Victoria. The U.S. opened the series with a 4-1 win in Hartford, Connecticut, and and a 2-1 win in Moncton, New Brunswick, in December.
Troy Ryan, who took over as Canada's head coach in January, kept his lines the same on Wednesday after getting the win two days earlier in his first game behind the bench. Canada's only change came in net, where Emerance Maschmeyer took over for Ann-Renee Desbiens.
"It's a work in progress, right?" said Ryan. "We're trying to have a little bit of a shift to offense, and that takes some time.
“I still saw some good things out there tonight. They're trying to implement some things that we've been working on in practice. As we work on the details, I think the execution will follow.”
U.S. coach Bob Corkum did some line juggling after Monday's loss, and his speedy new combination of Kendall Coyne Schofield, Brianna Decker and Cameranesi looked dangerous early.
The trio combined to open the scoring at 8:19 of the first period. After a shot attempt by Decker bounced off the end boards, Cameranesi bounced the puck off the back of the skate of Maschmeyer and into the net.
Three minutes and 21 seconds later, Canada evened the score. From behind the goal line, Melodie Daoust fed the puck to Jocelyne Larocque, who beat Burt high to her blocker side.
The 22-year-old Burt made her first start for the U.S. since a 4-3 loss in a Rivalry Series game in Toronto in Feb. 2019. Nicole Hensley started in the loss in Victoria.
The teams remained deadlocked through the second period, trading power-play opportunities for much of the middle frame. After 40 minutes, Canada was 0 for 5 with the man advantage, while the U.S. was 0 for 3.
The Americans took a 2-1 lead with 12:07 left in the third when Scamurra beat Maschmeyer high to her stick side off a feed from Knight from behind the net.
"It was a pass from behind the net to the other post," said Maschmeyer. "Right out in front and a quick shot. It just caught me.
"I think it was a tough game. It's always easier to play in games when you get a ton of shots. I think at both ends, there weren't a lot of shots, kind of some quality chances.
"We need to move forward here."
Knight added her empty netter with 1:50 left.
"It's hard to put into words," said Larocque of the fan support the Canadian team has received during its two games in British Columbia. "It's amazing and I feel so proud to be from such an amazing country that supports us and loves us, and we love them."
Even with the series outcome decided in favor of the U.S., there should be no shortage of emotion for the final game of the series on Saturday in Anaheim.
Game 5 in Anaheim on Saturday, where the Canadians will have more work to do.
"I don't think we would ever go into a game against the U.S. and treat it like an exhibition game," said Ryan. "It’s a rivalry and it's still part of the Rivalry Series.
“Our focus shifts from trying to win the Rivalry Series to trying to prepare for the World Championship, so I think the intensity and the mentality will still be there. It'll be a great game.”