Spooner scores twice as Canada beats U.S. in exhibition play

Canada's Natalie Spooner, center, celebrates with teammates. (Steven Senne/AP)

BOSTON — Natalie Spooner scored twice and Genevieve Lacasse made 37 saves as Canada’s women’s hockey team downed the United States 5-1 on Wednesday night in pre-Olympic exhibition play.

Spooner, on the power play, Laura Fortino and Meghan Agosta all scored during the second period for the Canadians, the defending Olympic champions. Marie-Philip Poulin added another in the third.

"I knew we could play better from our coaching staff through to our players and we definitely showed that tonight," Canada head coach Laura Schuler said. "I thought our girls played with a lot of grit and determination, their work ethic was absolutely outstanding, the energy on our bench was amazing and our girls really gave everything they had tonight."

Emily Pfalzer tied the game at 1-1 in the first period for the U.S., just three minutes after Spooner opened the scoring with her first of the game.

Nicole Hensley turned aside 12-of-16 shots through two periods for the Americans. Alex Rigsby played the third and stopped six shots.

The U.S. beat Canada 5-2 in Quebec City in their exhibition schedule opener on Sunday.

"It was huge to come back after that loss," Spooner said. "I think we learned a lot from it and we were able to build and improve on a lot of things and today it showed playing a much more aggressive game and taking it to them when we had the opportunities."

The two countries play a total of six exhibition games against each other before February’s Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The teams also play Dec. 3 in St. Paul, Minn., Dec. 5 in Winnipeg, Dec. 15 in San Jose, Calif., and Dec. 17 in Edmonton.

The Americans will also host the annual Four Nations Cup next month. The tournament runs Nov. 5-12 in Tampa, Fla., and includes Canada, Sweden and Finland.

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