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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Canadian women down U.S.A. in shootout

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OTTAWA -- Canada opened the 2013 women's world hockey championship with a 3-2 shootout win over the United States on Tuesday.

Jennifer Wakefield scored the shootout winner and Meghan Agosta-Marciano also scored for the hosts during extra shots.

The Canadians are the defending champions after beating the Americans in last year's final in Burlington, Vt.

Canada fell behind 2-0 after the opening period, but Rebecca Johnston and Catherine Ward both scored over the final nine minutes of regulation to send the game into overtime.

Monique Lamoureux and Brianna Decker scored for the U.S. in front of an announced 11,174 at SBP Arena. Hilary Knight scored during the shootout.

Canadian goaltender Shannon Szabados stopped 24 of 26 shots in net for the win in regulation, while U.S. counterpart Jessie Vetter made 27 saves on 29 shots.

Canadian captain Hayley Wickenheiser left the game seven minutes into the second period and did not return.

Canada wore black and yellow Livestrong jerseys for their first game of the tournament to promote a Nike line of apparel that raises money for the Livestrong Foundation.

The Canadians will be back in red and white Wednesday when they face Switzerland in another Group A game.

In other tournament-openers, the Czech Republic upset Sweden 3-2 in their world championship debut and Russia blanked Germany 4-0 in Group B games. Finland edged Switzerland 2-1 in the other Group A game.

The top two teams in Group A earn byes to Monday's semifinals. The bottom two meet the top two from Group B in the quarter-finals with the winners advancing to the semis. The bottom two teams in Group B play in the relegation round.

Wickenheiser passed the puck up ice during a Canadian power-play in the second period, skated to the bench and walked to the dressing room.

The 34-year-old had suffered a knee injury in the semifinal of the national women's university championship and did not play in the final for her University of Calgary Dinos. Wickenheiser said at the time the injury was minor and wouldn't prevent her from participating in the world championship.

The U.S. was quicker to the puck and tighter in their transitions Tuesday. Canada couldn't convert any of their four power-play chances in the second period into a goal, nor were they able to score on another man advantage in the third.

But Johnston's goal at 11:13 of the third sparked the Canadians. They then pressed hard for the equalizer and got it from Ward at 18:13.

Haley Irwin in front of the net attempted to deflect a Sarah Vaillancourt shot, but Irwin was upended. Ward rushed in to score on the rebound.

Johnston also scored on a rebound during a goal-mouth scramble with teammates Wakefield and Vaillancourt.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 3, 2013 D5

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