In the first women’s hockey meeting between Canada and the United States in over two years, an unheralded 13th forward made her mark.
With the hosts missing captain Marie-Philip Poulin after she got a puck to the throat in Tuesday’s win versus Switzerland, Jamie Lee Rattray – an extra skater when the World Hockey Championship began – made up for the star’s absence and continued her ascent up the lineup, scoring two goals as Canada easily defeated their cross-border rivals 5-1 in Calgary to wrap up group play.
Rattray started the opening game versus Finland a nomad, rotating between lines. Two games later versus Switzerland, she found herself on Canada’s top trio alongside Poulin and Victoria Bach. With Poulin out versus the Americans, Rattray was asked to again take on the responsibility – and she delivered in helping Canada to their first women’s hockey victory over the U.S. since April 2, 2013 when they won 3-2 in a shootout in Ottawa.
“Any time I get out there, I want to make an impact,” Rattray said after the win. She totalled 9:36 of ice time on the evening, the third-least of any Canadian forward.
“Whether that’s one shift or ten shifts, the big thing for me is just doing anything I can to help the girls out and bring the energy.”
Canada head coach Troy Ryan praised Rattray’s ability to play in all situations and with different linemates. Rattray starred for the Clarkson Golden Knights in college, scoring well over a point per game over her 147-game NCAA career. The Kanata, Ont., native has been a part of Hockey Canada teams for over ten years.
“I think the best thing about her is the energy and the attitude she brings to the rink everyday,” he said.
“Part of the reason why it was easy to select her is her versatility. She can play up the lineup. she can play down the lineup. She can play left wing, right wing. That versatility and that attitude bodes well for someone like Jamie Lee Rattray.”
Unlike previous games, Canada dominated the game from start to finish, hemming and frustrating the Americans in their own zone for much of the first two periods. The hosts also got their first goal of the tournament in the game’s opening stanza when long-time national team forward Melodie Daoust scored on a rebound seven minutes in. Partway through the second period, Canada had five goals while the Americans had six shots. Eight of Canada’s 17 skaters had at least a point.
“We were pretty good on the forecheck,” Ryan said. “Our F1 and F2 did a good job, but to be honest we were able to put four lines and seven [defencemen] over the boards and everybody was contributing to the team’s success.”
In the opposing locker room, there was no hunt for silver linings.
“We never played our game and I think that’s what went wrong,” American captain Kendall Coyne Schofield said.
“We got off to a slow start and it just continued throughout the game. Things weren’t going our way and we didn’t earn it. We didn’t play our best.”
“We have to learn to dictate the play and that’s just something we didn’t do tonight,” said Lee Stecklein, who scored the lone goal for the U.S.
With first place wrapped up for the hosts, the quarterfinals beckon for both squads, with their opponents to be determined.
“This is a great learning opportunity for our team,” Schofield said.
“How do we respond? That’s going to show what this team is made of.”
Catch all the Women’s World Hockey Championship action this weekend on TSN.