Fans of women's hockey were treated to another classic chapter of the USA vs. Canada rivalry Wednesday.
Canada won the game and Group A by a score of 2-1, but Team USA managed to outshoot their neighbors to the north by a margin of 23 shots.
After the final horn sounded, there was no doubt as to who the player of the game was: Canadian netminder Geneviève Lacasse stopped 44 of the 45 shots she faced, including countless chances taken from within feet of her crease.
Veteran forward Meghan Agosta scored the first goal of the game on a power play for Team Canada 7:18 into the second period. Less than eight minutes later, Sarah Nurse gave Canada a two-goal lead when she ripped a puck past Maddie Rooney that she shot through a screen. Team USA's only goal came just 23 seconds into the third period when Kendall Coyne spoiled Lacasse's shutout with her breakaway speed.
It just wouldn't be Canada-USA without some drama and controversy. It appears that the goal that gave Canada its 2-0 lead shouldn't have counted. Laura Fortino may very well have been offside before Nurse scored her goal, but Team USA head coach Robb Stauber chose not to challenge the call.
Two disallowed goals for Canada (one for a crease violation and the other for a goal that was kicked in), a few intense scrums in the goal creases, and a missed penalty shot by Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson only added to the intrigue. The game was fast, nasty, and intense. It was Canada and USA.
Both teams will have a bye in the quarterfinals of the playoff stage. Canada enters the playoff stage as the top seed from Group A with the victory and will face either Sweden, Finland or OAR in the semifinal Feb. 19. Team USA will face either Switzerland, Finland or OAR in their semifinal game Monday.
Sporting News contributor Mike Murphy provided live scoring updates and highlights. See how the game unfolded below. (All times Eastern.)
Canada 2, USA 1 full results
Shots on goal: USA 45, Canada 23
12:28 a.m. — Emily Pfalzer gets the last shot through of the game, but once again Lacasse keeps it out. Canada wins it 2-1. Fittingly enough, the game ends with a heated scrum in Canada's crease with a punch or two being thrown.
12:27 a.m. — A mad scramble around the crease and USA just can't bang it home. Rooney was pulled. It's desperation time for USA.
12:25 a.m. — Decker is back on the ice, USA has just under 50 seconds on a power play with less than two minutes left in regulation. The crowd comes alive with a chant of "USA! USA!"
12:22 a.m. — Kendall Coyne's speed draws a penalty and evens things up. We'll have an extended period of 4-on-4 hockey. Marie-Philip Poulin in the box for Canada.
12:21 p.m. — Brianna Decker heading to the box at the wrong time in the game. There is 3:53 left in regulation and Canada is back on the power play, they have one power play goal in the game.
12:18 a.m. — Hannah Brandt springs Dani Cameranesi and she rips it, but Lacasse smothers it. Canada fails to cash in on the power play. About five minutes left in regulation, still a one goal game.
12:15 a.m. — Marie-Philip Poulin with a rip from the point through some traffic, but Maddie Rooney stops it and covers. Rooney flashes the leather with a glove save moments later, Canada's power play is halfway done.
12:12 a.m. — Canada earns their third power play of the game thanks to the quick feet of Jillian Saulnier. Hilary Knight is in the box for USA, she got her stick up into Saulnier's face cage.
12:09 a.m. — No goal. It's been determined that Irwin kicked the puck in.
12:07 a.m. — Canada scores! But this one might be coming back. Natalie Spooner drives wide and centers the puck to Haley Irwin, but it looks like Irwin kicked this puck in. Was it a hockey stop, or did she make a kicking motion? Huge call to make in a one goal game.
12:06 a.m. — Halfway through the third period the shots are 38 to 18. Canada still searching for it's first shot of the third.
12:05 a.m. — Marie-Philip Poulin might be dealing with a lower-body injury. She was wincing on the bench earlier in the game and looked a little slow on her most recent shift.
12 a.m. — Kendall Coyne's speed beats out an icing, Hilary Knight ends up with the puck and she sets up Brianna Decker... but Decker is stonewalled by Lacasse. Another big stop by the veteran netminder.
11:57 p.m. — USA has all the momentum right now. Brianna Decker with a quick shot set up by Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, but Lacasse says no with the glove for her 34th save of the game.
11:51 p.m. — GOAL. USA's Kendall Coyne scores 23 seconds into the third period. The entire complexion of this game just changed thanks to Coyne's blistering speed. It's a 2-1 hockey game.
Could watch this Kendall Coyne goal replay all day pic.twitter.com/oYbYfIlWlD— Hannah Bevis (@Hannah_Bevis1) February 15, 2018
Second period: Canada 2, USA 0
Shots on goal: USA 32, Canada 18
11:38 p.m. — How many shots has USA had from within a couple of feet of Canada's crease? Lacasse has stopped 32 shots, a penalty shot, and faced two power plays through 2 periods. Only Decker has beaten her, and she hit iron.
Holy hell has Geneviève Lacasse been brilliant for #TeamCanada . How many shots has USA had from within a couple of feet of Canada's crease? Lacasse has stopped 32 shots, a penalty shot, and faced two power plays through 2 periods. Only Decker has beaten her, and she hit iron.— Mike Murphy (@DigDeepBSB) February 15, 2018
11:36 p.m. — Canada putting on same late pressure just before the end of the second period, but Rooney is equal to the task. Remember that save.
11:32 p.m. — Brianna Decker with a blast from the point that hits the post on the power play and an early whistle saves Canada. Ping! USA forwards once again going hard to the net in search of the loose puck after it found the iron.
11:29 p.m. — Meghan Agosta heads to the box again, this time for roughing. Huge chance for USA to steal back some momentum after that missed penalty shot.
11:27 p.m. — Jocelyne Lamoureux takes the penalty shot, she fakes going through her legs, backhands it... and Lacasse gets to it. No goal. Huge chance for USA comes up empty.
11:26 p.m. — A mad scramble in Canada's crease results in a penalty shot! A Canadian player closed her hand on the puck in the crease in the middle of a dog pile. Canada doesn't like the call, but it's clear from the overhead view it was covered in the crease by the hand of a skater.
11:22 p.m. — GOAL. Sarah Nurse shoots through a screen and beats Maddie Rooney high, it's 2-0 Canada. No coach's challenge for the play being offside, it looked like Laura Stacey might have been offsides. But the puck is dropped. Game on.
11:20 p.m. — Hilary Knight throws a puck in front from behind the net and it hits off a Canadian skate, but Lacasse gets her pads to it. Another commanding shift from the Knight-Decker-Coyne line.
11:19 p.m. — With 6:51 left in the second period a media time-out allows everyone to catch their breath. The shots are 24 to 14 in favor of USA, but Canada's 1-0 lead still stands.
11:14 p.m. — Monique Lamoureux-Morando with a chance on the rush up the right wing boards, but Geneviève Lacasse shuts the door. Huge stop. She's already made over 20 saves in the game.
11:10 p.m. — GOAL. Meghan Agosta scores on the power play! It's 1-0 Canada. She buries a no-look backhand pass from Natalie Spooner and makes no mistake. That is Agosta's 17th career goal in the Olympics.
11:07 p.m. — USA has the first five shots of the second period. But USA takes their second straight penalty. Megan Keller trips Marie-Philip Poulin with her leg and Canada goes back on the power play.
11:02 p.m. — Jocelyne Lamoureux sets up her sister right in front of the net, but the puck deflects just wide. Canada having some trouble getting out of their own zone early in the second.
11 p.m. — The second period is underway. Canada is unable to generate much of anything with the 38 seconds of power play time they had to start the second.
First period: USA 0, Canada 0
Shots on goal: USA 14, Canada 12
10:44 p.m. — Canada nearly cashes in on the power play with Laura Fortino parked in front of the net, but the puck hits a body and deflects wide. Canada will start the second period with 38 seconds remaining on their power play.
that was a close one pic.twitter.com/K6YFzqXtmF— Olympic Hockey on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) February 15, 2018
10:42 p.m. — Lee Stecklein is heading to the box for body checking on a clear interference play. Canada goes on the power play for the first time with 1:21 left in the first period.
10:40 p.m. — Canada putting on a lot of sustained pressure late in the first, giving USA trouble with their zone entries.
10:38 p.m. — Canada puts the puck into the net, but there are American and Canadian bodies in the crease preventing Maddie Rooney from making a save. The goal was immediately waved off. We remain scoreless with 3:15 left in the first period.
10:33 p.m. — With just under seven minutes left in the first period the shots are 13-7 in favor of Team USA.
10:29 p.m. — USA generated a couple of shots on the power play, but we remain scoreless. The second power play unit nearly cashed in on a stuff-in attempt at the doorstep.
10:26 p.m. — Meghan Agosta goes to the box for a body check, the first power play of the game goes to Team USA.
10:23 p.m. — Meghan Agosta trying to jam the puck in through Maddie Rooney and the Lamoureux twins take exception. We have our first big scrum of the game. Still scoreless, but a nice chance for Canada there.
10:21 p.m. — Amanda Kessel with a rip after being set up by Dani Cameranesi, but Geneviève Lacasse stops it with her chest. USA leads in shots 7-1.
10:16 p.m. — A sloppy line change from Canada gives Hilary Knight a golden opportunity to get the first goal of the game, but Geneviève Lacasse came up big for Canada and stopped Knight's wrister. USA's top line looks strong early.
10:13 p.m. — Jill Saulnier and Amanda Kessel collide at center ice and exchange icy glares. Yep, this is Canada and USA.
10:11 p.m. — Canada wins the opening draw and gets the first shot of the game on net.
10:11 p.m. — Here. We. Go.
9:35 p.m. — Maddie Rooney will be in net for USA and Geneviève Lacasse will be in net for Canada.
Maddie Rooney comes into tonight's game against Canada with a .958 Sv%. This is her second start of #PyeongChang2018 (her first game was against Finland). Oh, did I mention she's 20-years-old? #TeamUSA— Mike Murphy (@DigDeepBSB) February 15, 2018
Time: 10:10 p.m. ET
Location: Kwandong Hockey Centre