December 5, 2017 11:53 pm

Canadian women squeak out win over United States in pre-Olympic series

Team Canada goalie Geneviève Lacasse makes a glove save against the United States.

Josh Arason / Global News

WINNIPEG – Canada’s national women’s hockey team won their third straight game over their arch-rival United States.

Canada eked out a 2-0 win over the USA on Tuesday at Bell MTS Place in game four of the six game pre-Olympic series.

After playing almost 57 minutes of scoreless hockey Jillian Saulnier broke the deadlock with just over three minutes left in regulation time. Laura Fortino scored into the empty net soon after to seal another Canadian win over the United States.

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Team Canada goalie Geneviève Lacasse made 32 saves for the shutout as the U.S. outshot Canada 32-20. The USA finished 0-for-5 with the man advantage.

“We were getting our chances for sure,” Saulnier said. “Lacasse was a brick wall back there, and the opportunities were definitely coming, and I think it was just a matter of time for sure til we popped one in.”

“I think they could have had a couple early on.” Bailey Bram said. “We kinda came out a bit flat and she (Lacasse) kept us in the game, and we built off her energy, so she’s a game changer today for sure.”

The first period was loaded with scoring chances for either side. But it was scoreless after 20 minutes in a period the United States outshot Canada 12-7. Neither team could light the lamp in the second frame either with the Americans outshooting Canada 12-8. The shots were 7-6 in favour of the United States in a final frame in which Canada scored twice.

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Canada had four Manitobans in the lineup but Bram, Jocelyne Larocque, Brigette Lacquette and Halli Krzyzaniak were all held without a point.

There were 11,226 fans in attendance at Bell MTS Place.

“When you’re a little bit tired you can feed of the crowd’s energy,” Krzyzaniak said. “And they really brought it tonight, and it was just great to see all the little girls watching us.”

After dropping the opening game of the exhibition series Canada has reeled off three straight victories in the tuneup for the Olympics in February.

“It’s always really intense when we play against the Americans.” Larocque said. “A lot of just intensity, rivalry, so it’s always a lot of fun.”

Team Canada still has to make three more cuts before naming their Olympic roster. Canada has won four straight gold medals in women’s hockey at the Olympics.

Canada will face the United States two more times before the Winter Olympic Games with their next meeting on December 15 in San Jose, CA.

WATCH: Post Game Reaction

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