The U.S. women's hockey team didn't have to travel far for its next game against Canada. The Americans, who have been living and training in Blaine, simply had to drive to St. Paul for Monday's 7 p.m. showdown at Xcel Energy Center.
The longtime rivals are seeing a lot of each other as they prepare for the Beijing Olympics in February. Canada has won four of the six games in their My Why Tour, with three of the games decided in overtime. Nine players with Minnesota ties are on the U.S. roster, which recently was reduced to 23 players — the exact size allowed for the Beijing Games.
How to watch
Tickets ($29) remain available for the game, which is expected to draw about 10,000 fans. It will be televised live on NBCSN, with Kenny Albert and 2018 Olympic gold medalist Monique Lamoureux-Morando on the call.
USA Hockey will formally announce the Olympic roster on Jan. 1, during the second intermission of the NHL Winter Classic at Target Field. But five players already have been trimmed from the group of 28 who began the national team residency in October at Blaine's Super Rink, bringing the roster to the Olympic size.
The team includes 2018 Olympic gold medalists Lee Stecklein (Roseville/Gophers), Hannah Brandt (Vadnais Heights/Gophers), Dani Cameranesi (Plymouth/Gophers), Kelly Pannek (Plymouth/Gophers), Maddie Rooney (Andover/Minnesota Duluth) and Amanda Kessel (Gophers). Grace Zumwinkle (Excelsior/Gophers), Abbey Murphy (Gophers) and Megan Bozek (Gophers), part of the U.S. team that won the silver medal at last summer's world championships, also are on the roster.
The series so far
The home team has yet to win in the series, which began Oct. 22. Canada took the first two games, in Allentown, Pa., and Hartford, Conn., and defeated the Americans twice last week in St. Louis. The U.S. earned a pair of victories in Ontario in November.
The six games have been decided by a total of eight goals. The U.S. has the only shutout, a 2-0 victory on Nov. 23 in which Rooney stopped all 26 shots she faced. That's been the only start of the series for the former UMD goaltender, who missed the world championships last August because of a knee injury.
Both of last week's games went to overtime, with Canada earning a 2-1 victory last Wednesday and a 3-2 win last Friday. Hilary Knight leads the U.S. with four goals — including both game-winners — and five points.
Marie-Philip Poulin tops Canada with eight points and scored the winning goals in both games last week.