COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The setting was Herning not Beijing, but the United States will still be pleased with a 5-2 comeback win over Olympic champion Canada in group play at the women’s hockey world championship on Tuesday.
Megan Keller had a goal and an assist to help the Americans beat their longtime rival and close out group play undefeated in central Denmark. The teams are heavy favorites to meet again in Sunday’s final.
Canada, also the defending world champion, led 2-0 after first-period goals from Sarah Fillier and Ella Shelton. Keller got the U.S. started with a power-play goal early in the second period and Kelly Pannek made it 2-2.
Lacey Eden scored the winning goal early in the third, with assists from Keller and Savannah Harmon, who also had a helper on Kendall Coyne Schofield’s goal to make it 4-2 with 6:32 remaining.
Hilary Knight’s empty-netter moved her within one point of Canadian Hayley Wickenheiser’s all-time world championship total of 86. Knight already holds the record for goals with 50.
The U.S. victory ended a five-game losing streak to Canada, which won the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics by beating the Americans 3-2 in the final.
Nicole Hensley made 26 saves for the U.S.; Emerance Maschmeyer 28 for Canada.
In Thursday’s quarterfinals, the U.S. will face Hungary, while Canada will play Sweden. Group B winner Czechia will play Finland, and Switzerland faces Japan.
The United States and Canada are the only two teams that have won the world championship, which started in 1990. Canada has won the title 11 times, two more than the U.S.
The rivals have squared off in every final except one — in 2019 when the Americans beat Finland in a shootout. The U.S. had won five straight titles before Canada broke the streak last year.
Czechia took the top spot in Group B by beating Sweden 3-0.
Finland secured third place in Group A with a 4-0 win over Switzerland, which played without captain Lara Stalder after she tested positive for COVID-19.
Finland captain Jenni Hiirikoski was honored in a ceremony before the game for her record 14th appearance at the world championship.
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