Canadian women’s hockey team stymied by Frankel as U.S. wins Rivalry Series opener

Hilary Knight has played in four Olympics, 13 world championships and been a part of the U.S. women’s national team since 2007.

Now the Americans’ captain at 34, she may be getting better instead of slowing down.

Knight had a goal and an assist, Aerin Frankel stopped 31 shots and the United States beat Canada 3-1 in the opener of the Rivalry Series on Wednesday night in Tempe, Ariz.

“It seems like she comes out of nowhere and scores goals,” Canada’s Sara Nurse said. “But obviously she’s a super talented player around the net and doesn’t miss many.”

WATCH l U.S. defeats Canada to open Rivalry Series:

Canada falls to United States in opening game of Rivalry Series

Featured VideoUnited States beats Canada 3-1 in the opener of the 2023-24 Rivalry Series. Hilary Knight records a goal and an assist.

The Americans won the last time these rivals met, scoring four unanswered goals to beat Canada 6-3 in the gold medal game of the IIHF World Championships in April.

Canada had the early jump in the first of seven games in the 2023-24 version of the Rivalry Series, but Frankel made some tough saves to keep the Canadians from scoring.

Team USA scored first on Knight’s goal in the closing seconds of the first period, and Canada tied it on Brianne Jenner’s goal in the second at Mullett Arena, home of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes.

Taylor Heise, the No. 1 overall pick in the inaugural PWHL draft, scored early in the third period to put the U.S. up 2-1, and Alex Carpenter sealed it by scoring off a turnover with 1:20 left in regulation.

Emerance Maschmeyer had 23 saves for Canada.

Game 2 of the series is Saturday in Los Angeles before most of the players report to training camps for the newly former Professional Women’s Hockey League next week.

“I was actually expecting us to have a better start than we did or a little more electricity from our young players,” U.S. coach John Wroblewski said. “But sometimes that nervousness can get you into a spot where you’re wound up. It took us a while to settle in.”

Frankel was sharp in the first period, stopping Jessie Eldridge from point-blank range and Ella Shelton on a power play late.

Maschmeyer also made some tough stops, including against Abbey Murphy on a short breakaway. Maschmeyer couldn’t get back into position after the rebound and Knight flipped in a backhander with eight seconds left.

“Our team really stacked together a lot of good play tonight,” Knight said.

Jenner tied it midway through the second, punching in a rebound of her own shot past Frankel after the Americans allowed her to skate freely through the slot.

Canada’s Kristin O’Neill had a goal waved off early in the third period for using a high stick. Heise scored a few minutes after that on a rebound that caromed out to the right circle, then Carpenter slipped a backhander between Mashmeyer’s pads.

“Just puck management, let too many plays get away from us,” Jenner said. “You can’t really do that and not expect the other team to capitalize.”

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