Agosta, Mikkelson inject experience into Canada’s roster for Rivalry Series

CALGARY — Canada’s 23-player roster for the first two games of the Rivalry Series against the United States features the return of veteran forward Meghan Agosta and defender Meaghan Mikkelson.

The two women took the 2018-19 season off to have children.

Agosta, from Ruthven, Ont., is a four-time Olympian and has won three gold medals.

Mikkelson, from St. Albert, Alta., helped Canada claim Olympic gold in both 2010 and 2014.

Canada opens the five-game Rivalry Series against the Americans on Dec. 14 in Hartford, Conn., followed by a Dec. 17 rematch in Moncton.

The series resumes Feb. 3 in Victoria followed by games Feb. 5 in Vancouver and Feb. 8 in Anaheim, Calif.

Canada is coming off 4-1 and 5-3 exhibition wins over the U.S. earlier this month with a different lineup.

“We are coming off a very good training camp and two games with the United States in Pittsburgh, where we were able to evaluate our players and take a closer look at our depth chart,” said Gina Kingsbury, Hockey Canada director of women’s national teams, in a statement Thursday.

“We continue to strengthen our identity and grow as a team leading into the world championship, and the competition against the Americans is a good measuring stick for us.”

The Americans are the reigning world and Olympic champions.

The two countries met in the final of every world championship until this year when host Finland upset Canada in the semifinal.

Halifax and Truro, N.S., are the host cities of the 2020 women’s world championship March 31 to April 10.

Canada’s roster for the opening two games of the Rivalry Series was chosen by head coach Perry Pearn, associate coach Troy Ryan and Kingsbury with input from head scout Melody Davidson and regional scouts.

The lineup also includes veteran forwards Marie-Philip Poulin, Natalie Spooner and Sarah Nurse, defenders Jocelyne Larocque, Laura Fortino and Lauriane Rougeau, as well as goaltenders Genevieve Lacasse and Emerance Maschmeyer.

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