By JASON LA ROSE
For Hockey Canada
Emerance Maschmeyer (Bruderheim, Alta./Harvard University, ECAC) was absolutely spectacular, finishing with 35 saves, but Canada’s National Women’s Team fell 3-1 to the United States in the opening game for both Monday at the 2016 IIHF Women’s World Championship.
The Canadian netminder stopped the first 31 shots she faced, many of them of the did-you-see-that variety, but the Americans struck three times in the final 10:02 to escape a raucous Sandman Centre with the win.
Laura Fortino (Hamilton, Ont./Brampton, CWHL) had the lone goal for Canada, opening the scoring on the power play in the first minute of the third period.
The first 40 minutes belonged to Maschmeyer, who was a perfect 24-for-24; she was the backbone of a Canadian penalty kill that kept the Americans off the scoreboard on their first five power-play chances, including two five-on-three advantages in the opening 22 minutes.
Canada only needed one chance on the power play to find the back of the net; just 14 seconds into the third period, a loose puck found its way back to Fortino, who snapped a shot past U.S. goaltender Alex Rigsby.
The Americans finally solved Maschmeyer midway through the final frame when Hilary Knight beat the netminder to the glove side after a rush down the left wing, and Brianna Decker knocked in the game-winner on the sixth and final American power play with 6:05 to go.
The Canadians had a glorious opportunity to tie the game in the dying minutes after a turnover right in front of the U.S. net, but her quick shot rang off the crossbar behind Rigsby.
Knight added her second goal into an empty net with 19.1 seconds left to cap the scoring.
The Americans finished with a 38-23 advantage in shots on goal.
Canada is right back on the ice Tuesday night in Kamloops, taking on Russia in the second of three preliminary-round games; the puck drops at 7:30 p.m. PT.