Canada's women's hockey team is poised to reverse-sweep the United States after tying the 2023-24 Rivalry Series at three games apiece, winning 3-0 Friday night in Regina.
Canada's uncanny ability to claw their way back into a series is noteworthy. Last year, the squad was down 3-0 before rattling off four straight to rip victory away from the U.S.
That instalment of the women's hockey classic ended with the Canadians dominating the all-decisive seventh game, winning 5-0 off the back of an Ann-Renée Desbiens' shutout in her home province of Quebec.
This time, PWHL Ottawa's Emerance Maschmeyer shut the door for Canada. The Bruderheim, Alta., native, stopped all 27 shots she faced and routinely made the Americans look skyward en route to the shutout.
Canada celebrates a goal against the United States during third period Rivalry Series women's hockey action in Regina on Friday. (Liam Richards/The Canadian Press)
The first period saw both teams combine for just eight total shots, leaving the goaltenders — Maschmeyer and Aerin Frankel — relatively untested.
The tempo picked up in the second, with each team picking up at least eight shots and the U.S. reaching 15. However, both netminders stood tall.
Megan Keller took a body-checking penalty 32 seconds into the final frame, sending Canada to the power play.
On the ensuing opportunity, Marie-Philip Poulin sent a crisp pass to a streaking Natalie Spooner. Spooner barrelled toward the net, and the PWHL's leading goal scorer roofed it past Frankel, giving Canada the lead and sending fans in Regina to their feet under a minute into the third stanza.
Emily Clark and Sarah Nurse added insurance with goals of their own later in the period, and Canada cruised to a 3-0 win. Maschmeyer stopped all 27 shots as she picked up her first win and shutout of the Rivalry Series.
Game seven of the series heads south of the border as the two teams will take to the ice on Sunday at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. Taylor Heise, Grace Zumwinkle, Maggie Flaherty, and more Minnesota-born players will look to stifle Canada's comeback on home ice.
Meanwhile, Team Canada, backed by Poulin, Maschmeyer, and Spooner, has the momentum and aims to claim its fourth straight victory in enemy territory.