The women in black found a way without Wick.
Maybe the Livestrong uniforms were that jarring, but Team Canada looked out of sorts for a good two-thirds of the game that served as the real start of the road to Sochi 2014. Thirty-four-year-old captain Hayley Wickenheiser, who injured her knee early last month, left in the second period and Canada was chugging behind Team USA. The youthful Yanks, with only a half-dozen players who will be 26 years old — the average age of Canada's current lineup — by the time the puck drops at the Olympics next February, seemed to be in a higher gear.
Yet Team Canada crashed the net to fish out two greasy goals against U.S. goalie Jessie Vetter in the final 10 minutes, leading to Jennifer Wakefield burying the shootout clincher for a 3-2 victory in the two powerhouses’ opener at the IIHF women's world championship. It was a faith-restoring finish; seeing a father telling his young daughter, "see, that's why you never give up" as they headed for the exit confirmed how the effort went over with 9,052 flag-waving fans at Scotiabank Place.
That erased any impressions fostered by the opening 20 minutes, when Canada was a step slow and had only five shots while the U.S. scored two slick goals, one by Monique Lamoureux and the other by Brianna Decker off a deft defence-splitting pass from phenom Amanda Kessel. For a long while, Canada's situation was as scary as, well, The Woman In Black ("we were really on our heels," said defender Catherine Ward, who tied the game off a scramble with 1:47 left).
"The number of shots we had early in the game was unacceptable," said left wing Caroline Ouellette, the no-nonsense veteran. "But as the game went on, we became more connected as a unit of five players. Our passing wasn't up to the level it needed to be in order to beat the Americans, but it came together.Read More »from Without Hayley Wickenheiser, Team Canada makes gritty comeback vs. U.S.