Finkel stops 31 shots, Team USA beats Canada to open Rivalry Series

JOHN MARSHALL Associated Press

TEMPE, Ariz. — Hilary Knight had a goal and an assist, Aerin Frankel stopped 31 shots and the United States beat Canada 3-1 in the Championship Series opener on Wednesday night.

The Americans won the last time these rivals met, scoring four unanswered goals to beat Canada 6-3 in the gold medal game of the IIHF World Championship in April.

Canada had the early jump in the first of seven games in the 2023-24 edition of the Championship Series, but Frankel made some tough saves to keep the Canadians from scoring.

Team USA scored first on a goal by Knight in the closing seconds of the first period, and Canada tied it on a goal by Brianne Jenner in the second at Mullett Arena, home of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes.

Taylor Heise, the No. 1 overall pick, scored. 1 in the inaugural PWHL draft, early in the third period to put the USA up 2-1, and Alex Carpenter sealed it by scoring off a turnover with 1:20 left in regulation.

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Emerance Maschmeyer had 23 saves for Canada.

Game 2 of the series takes place on Saturday in Los Angeles before most of the players report to training camps for the Professional Women’s Hockey League next week.

Frankel was sharp in the first period, stopping Jessie Eldridge from point-blank range and Ella Shelton on a late power play.

Maschmeyer also made some tough stops, including against Murch on a short break. Maschmeyer couldn’t get back into position after the rebound and Knight turned into a backhander with eight seconds left.

Jenner tied it midway through the second, tapping in a rebound of her own shot past Frankel after the American allowed her to skate freely through the slot.

Canada’s Kristin O’Neill had a goal thrown early in the third period for using a high stick. Heise scored a few minutes later on a rebound that caromed out to the right circle, then Carpenter slipped a backhander between Mashmeyer’s pads.

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