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  1. Sports

U.S. women's hockey team tops Canada for Four Nations Cup title

TAMPA — The United States derailed a comeback bid by Canada with three goals — including two on power plays — late in the third period for a 5-1 win Sunday in the Four Nations Cup final at Amalie Arena.

That gave the United States its third straight championship-game win over Canada and seventh overall in the event. Canada has won nine titles, with the United States the runnerup each time.

"It's great," said U.S. coach Robb Stauber, whose team didn't lose a game in the tournament (4-0), including beating Canada twice. "I think the biggest thing coming out of (Sunday) is the patience we displayed and coming out on the right end of it. When a team's down, they have to take some chances. We were very patient and let the game develop."

The four-team tournament, which also included Finland and Sweden, was the last major international tuneup before next year's Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Hilary Knight's power-play goal off a goal-mouth scramble effectively dashed Canada's hopes and gave the Americans a two-goal cushion at 3-1 with less than four minutes left in the game. Amanda Kessel added a power-play goal, and Kendall Coyne closed out the scoring with 17 seconds remaining.

"I think you have two great teams, and we never take (Canada) lightly," said Kessel, sister of the Pittsburgh Penguins' two-time Stanley Cup champion Phil Kessel. "We just keep our foot on the gas pedal."

Said Knight, one of the Americans' most experienced players, "It's a huge border battle every time we're on the ice. We're such competitors, two great teams battling it out, and the fans on both sides add to it."

Trailing 2-0, Canada cut its deficit in half with a power-play goal midway through the third period after Meghan Agosta one-timed a low shot from the slot past goaltender Maddie Rooney off a cross-ice pass from Brigette Lacquette.

Canada never mounted another solid scoring chance, in part because of three late penalties.

"I don't think the score was indicative in how the game was played," Canadian coach Laura Schuler said. "Our discipline, or undiscipline, cost us. You can't take penalties that end up flipping things around."

The United States took a 2-0 lead into the final period after breaking open a scoreless game on two quick Hannah Brandt goals late in the second. She beat goaltender Genevieve Lacasse between the pads on a feed from Dani Cameranesi, then tucked in a power-play goal from down low near the left post off a pass from Kessel. The goals came 1:03 apart.

Both teams had their chances in a scoreless first period.

Canada's Bailey Bram redirected a pass in front that banked off the left post. Rooney was on her mark from the outset, making two point-blank saves in the slot in the first minute. So, too, was Lacasse, who stoned Kendall Coyne on a breakaway in the third minute. Midway through the second, Rooney made a nice save in the slot on Jennifer Wakefield on a 3-on-2 breakout.

"Making those kind of saves early gave me a ton of confidence," said Rooney, who made 18 saves. "It gave the defense confidence, too."

Finns take third: In the consolation game, Finland edged Sweden 2-1 on a Petra Nieminen goal in overtime. Jenni Hirikoski, who got an assist on that goal, scored in the first off a feed from Susanna Tapani, and Sweden's Erika Grahm got the tying goal in the second.

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