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Canada wins first showdown, defeats USA 2-1

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The matchup lived up to the hype as the two North American powerhouses met in the preliminary round of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.

Meghan Agosta and Sarah Nurse each scored as Canada defeated the United States, 2-1, and secured the top spot in the semifinals with the victory.

“We have something special here, we have a lot of depth on this team and great players with speed, talent and skill," Agosta said. "It’s going to take everybody, whether it’s their first Olympics or their fourth; we started this mission back in August and we need to keep it going."

Geneviève Lacasse made 44 saves for Canada and stopped Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson on a penalty shot at 14:08 of the second period.

"We've got to bury our chances," Lamoureux-Davidson explained. "We had a lot of shots on net and a lot of opportunities, some loose pucks on the net in scrums, a few inches off in a lot of them, so we've just got to find a way to get those goals."

Kendall Coyne scored the lone American goal and Maddie Rooney stopped 21 shots.

Natalie Spooner, playing in her 100th game for Team Canada, made a no-look backhand pass to set up Agosta at 7:18 of the first period to give the Canadians a 1-0 advantage.

Nurse doubled Canada’s lead with a well-placed wrister at 14:56 of the middle frame. Forward Laura Stacey appeared to enter the offensive zone before the puck crossed the blue line, but USA head coach Robb Stauber elected not to challenge.

Coyne made it 2-1 just 23 seconds into the third period. She darted into the offensive zone and fired a wrist shot between the legs of Lacasse.

"It's always a great game when we play Canada," Coyne said. "I thought it was a great back-and-forth game and both teams played well. ... It's just finding a way to finish those grade-A chances that we had."

Canada had two goals waived off due to a kicking motion in the final frame, and a crease violation in the opening period.

Both teams will advance to the semifinals and will await the winners of the quarterfinals matchup.

"There's still parts of our game that we can continue to improve," Canada's coach Laura Schuler said. "We'll spend the next couple of days here looking at video and seeing where those areas are.”

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