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Canada comes back from 3-0 deficit to top USA in Rivalry Series with dominant Game 7 win


SAINT PAUL, Minn. — For the second year in a row, Canada has comeback from a 3-0 deficit to win the Rivalry Series against the United States.

Natalie Spooner and Emma Maltais each had two goals and one assist in leading Canada to a 6-1 drubbing of the U.S. and a fourth straight victory to win the series on Sunday.

Marie-Philip Poulin and Ashton Bell also scored for Canada. Sarah Nurse dished out three assists and Anne-Renee Desbiens made 24 saves.

“I think it speaks volumes to how much we’re sticking to our game, even when we’re down and facing adversity,” Maltais said. “I think today it showed a lot of character and we’re just going to keep moving forward. It’s exciting for me to be part of the Series this year. I wasn’t part of the comeback last year."

Grace Zumwinkle had the lone goal for the U.S. Nicole Hensley stopped 9-of-12 shots in net, while Abbey Levy turned away 7-of-10 shots in relief.

The U.S. won 3-1 on Nov. 8, 5-2 on Nov. 11 and 3-2 in overtime on Dec. 14 to take a 3-0 series lead.

However, Canada began its comeback with a 3-2 shootout win on Dec. 16, followed by a 4-2 win on Wednesday and a 3-0 win on Friday.

“The Canada-U. S. games are always exciting games and the games you get up for,” Spooner said. "Obviously, knowing that we were down in the series, every game was do-or-die for us.

"Game 7, this was like our gold-medal game, our Super Bowl, so we were just excited for the game."

Spooner had the lone first-period goal. She squeezed in a rebound past Hensley off a Brianne Jenner miss in front at 12:06 on the power play.

Poulin doubled Canada's lead on the power play 57 seconds into the second period, whipping in a wrist shot from the point.

Bell made it a 3-0 game at 10:41. She finished off a pretty backhand pass into the slot from Maltais, beating Hensley glove side.

Zumwinkle got the Americans on the board with a short-handed goal with 2:31 remaining in the middle frame. But 58 seconds later, Spooner roofed a wrist shot past Levy for her second.

Maltais got in on the action 4:21 into the final frame with a short-handed goal, beating Levy with a low shot on a breakaway.

Maltais added her second of the contest at 7:58 when Spooner found her open in the slot and beat Levy below the pads with a backhand shot.

“With the series now done, it obviously makes things tougher for player selection heading into Worlds, but obviously any time you can come from behind, it’s great," said head coach Troy Ryan' "The one thing that’s important now is that usually success in the Rivalry Series doesn’t necessarily mean success at the World Championship, so we’d like to break that trend for sure.”