|LOS ALAMITOS, California, February 20. THE USA Women's National Team took home the 2012 Holiday Cup title with an 11-8 win over Canada in the final match to finish the tourney undefeated. Team USA rallied from deficits in the first and third quarters to pull away in the fourth quarter en route to victory. Brenda Villa (Commerce, CA/Stanford/Olympic Club) scored three goals in the win while Betsey Armstrong (Ann Arbor, MI/Michigan/NYAC) stopped nine shots.
The United States persevered despite going just 2/8 on power plays. Italy took third place with a 13-6 victory over Greece.
Team USA got off to a strong start scoring early on a Maggie Steffens shot (Danville, CA/Stanford/Diablo) to grab a 1-0 lead. Canada quickly answered with three straight goals to grab a 4-1 lead with 3:02 left in the period. Team USA rallied with consecutive scores from Heather Petri (Orinda, CA/California/NYAC) and Kelly Rulon (San Diego, CA/UCLA/NYAC) to draw to within 3-2 by the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter Canada got back on track on offense scoring the first goal of the period to go up 5-3. The United States rallied to tie the match at 5-5 when Lolo Silver (Long Beach, CA/Stanford/NYAC) found the net on a power play try with 2:38 remaining. Canada missed an opportunity for an extra goal after a penalty shot was disallowed for a hesitation on the shot. The two teams then traded goals with Canada going up 6-5, the United States tying it at 6-6, and then Canada re-taking the lead at 7-6 to close out the half.
Seconds into the third quarter Canada rebuilt a two goal lead on a Dominique Perreault score to make it an 8-6 match. The United States responded in a hurry with goals from Jessica Steffens (Danville, CA/Stanford/NYAC), Villa, and Silver to take the lead 9-8 by the end of the period. In the fourth it was all Team USA as they began to pull away. Villa scored her second of the day with 5:06 left in the match to go up 10-8. In the interim the United States kept Canada off the board and then Villa put the match away with a score with less than a minute remaining to give the United States an 11-8 lead.
Team USA went 2/8 on power plays and 1-1 on penalties while Canada was 3/9 on power plays and 0/1 on penalty shots.
Scoring - Scoresheet
USA 11 (3, 3, 3, 2) B. Villa 3, L. Silver 2, K. Rulon 2, M. Steffens 1, J. Steffens 1, A. Dries 1, H. Petri 1
CAN 8 (4, 3, 1, 0)
Saves - USA - B. Armstrong 9
6x5 - USA 2/8 - CAN 3/9
Penalties - USA 1/1 - CAN 0/1
Italy Rolls Past Greece 13-6 For Third Place
Italy got off to a fast start and never looked back in a 13-6 defeat of Greece to claim third place. Italy was powered by four goals from dominant center Elisa Casanova. The Greeks, who failed to win a match at the Holiday Cup, struggled to get their offense started. Italy opened up a 5-2 lead after the first quarter and, despite a small rally from Greece, expanded to 6-4 at halftime. In the third quarter they moved out to a three goal advantage, grabbing a 9-6 lead after three periods.
In the fourth the Italians put the finishing touches on the match, outscoring the Greeks 4-0 to go up 13-6 and take home third place. The match of two of the top teams from Europe, Italy the defending European Champions, and Greece, the defending FINA World Champions was marked by the announcement of the draw for the Olympic qualification tournament taking place later this Spring.
Scoring - Scoresheet
ITA 13 (5, 1, 3, 4)
GRE 6 (2, 2, 2, 0)
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