OTTAWA — Canada fought back from a two-goal deficit and overcame the loss of their captain to beat the United States 3-2 in a shootout to open the women’s world hockey championship Tuesday.
Jennifer Wakefield scored what was the shootout winner when goaltender Shannon Szabados stopped Hilary Knight in the fourth round of extra shots. Meghan Agosta-Marciano also scored and Szabados stopped three of four shots for Canada in the shootout.
“I thought about jumping into the boards, but I didn’t want to celebrate too hard in case they went down and scored,” Wakefield said. “But a lot of credit to Szabados stopping three of the four. That was phenomenal.”
The hosts trailed 2-0 after two periods. Captain Hayley Wickenheiser skated to the bench and headed for the dressing room in the second period. She did not return to the game.
Knight was the first shooter for the U.S. and she scored on that attempt before Szabados foiled her second.
The Americans had the momentum until Canada’s Rebecca Johnston and Catherine Ward scored in the final nine minutes of regulation to send the game into overtime.
“We’re a confident group and we were able to take it to them in the third,” Wakefield said.
Monique Lamoureux and Brianna Decker scored for the U.S. in front of an announced 11,174 at SBP Arena.
Szabados stopped 24 of 26 shots in net in regulation, while U.S. counterpart Jessie Vetter made 27 saves on 29 shots.
Wickenheiser passed the puck up ice during a power play in the second period, skated to the bench and walked to the dressing room.
The 34-year-old suffered a knee injury in the semifinal of the national women’s university championship and did not play in the final for her University of Calgary Dinos.
Wickenheiser said at the time the injury was minor and wouldn’t prevent her from participating in the world championship.
“Not sure what the injury is yet other than she left the game and was having some difficulty,” head coach Dan Church said. “Our doctors haven’t reported to me what it is, so she’ll be re-evaluted probably now and we’ll get a further update in the morning.”
In other tournament-openers, the Czech Republic upset Sweden 3-2 in their world championship debut and Russia blanked Germany 4-0 in Group B games. Finland edged Switzerland 2-1 in the other Group A game.
The top two teams in Group A earn byes to Monday’s semifinals. The bottom two meet the top two from Group B in the quarter-finals with the winners advancing to the semis.