TIKKURILA, Finland — Canada remained unbeaten at the Four Nations Cup on Wednesday after a 3-1 win over the archrival Americans at Valtti Arena.
American Hilary Knight opened the scoring early in the second period, but Marie-Philip Poulin and Gillian Apps scored 35 seconds apart for a lead Canada wouldn’t relinquish. Hayley Wickenheiser added an insurance goal as Canada improved to 2-0 at the four-team tournament.
“These are the games we want to play in,” Apps said. “I think if you ask anyone on the American team or the Canadian team, it’s an amazing rivalry. We know they’re fast and so talented. We have to be prepared for that and play physical and play our game. They’re fun games to play in, just to battle it out for the full 60 minutes.
“Obviously it’s always nice to come out with a win, but we’re far from done our work here. We’re just going to keep moving forward.”
The Canadians will enjoy an off-day Thursday before closing round-robin play Friday against Sweden. The medal games are scheduled for Saturday.
The Americans beat Canada 4-3 in a shootout in last year’s final in Sweden.
The Canadians opened the 2012 tournament with a 6-0 rout of Finland on Tuesday and were confident heading into their matchup with the American side.
“I think we did a really good job in our one-on-one battles and our urgency to race to loose pucks,” said head coach Dan Church. “Just our battle mentality along the wall, in the corners and in front of the net, it was a big difference over the course of the game.
“I think it really led to a lot of our goals and ultimately the win.”
Host Finland played Sweden later Wednesday. Canada improved to 26-7-1 against the United States at this tournament.
Canada last won the Four Nations Cup in 2010, defeating the Americans 3-2 in overtime. Canada has won this event 12 times over its 16-year history.
The tournament also serves as an evaluation opportunity for team brass ahead of the 2013 world championship in Ottawa this April.
The Canadian roster includes almost all the players from the team that won gold at the 2012 world championship last spring. Canada beat the Americans 5-4 in overtime in the championship game.
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun