A game without any real stakes still served to give Canada a big mental advantage ahead of the Women's World Hockey Championship.
Laura Fortino scored and Shannon Szabados made 24 saves as Canada defeated the U.S. 1-0 in an exhibition game Saturday night.
The game was a tune-up for both teams as they prepare for the world championship in Burlington, Vt., April 7-14. The two nations will face one another on the opening day of the tournament next Saturday.
"It doesn't really mean anything but it gives us a lot of confidence going into the world championships," Szabados said.
"I felt good and the girls definitely played well in front of me. We didn't give up too many chances and the entire team played well I thought."
Fontino's goal at 17:26 of the second period proved to be the only goal the Canadians would need as they shut the Americans down offensively.
Marie-Philip Poulin kept the play alive with hustle and determination before setting up Fortino for the goal as the defenceman moved in from the point and put a shot past American goaltender Molly Schaus.
Upon entering the U.S. zone Poulin slid the puck cross-ice to Brianne Jenner who a second earlier had turned her back on the play to go off on a change. Poulin raced across the ice and regained possession of the puck before swinging across the blue-line and into the corner where she spotted Fortino.
"That was an unbelievable read by her," Fortino said. "She saw me coming in from the point and I made sure we made eye contact first and I knew she was going to make that pass because she's such a great player. I was lucky to find that top corner."
While neither team was able to generate much offence, they couldn't even put together many scoring chances, especially in the early going of each period. All three periods were several minutes old before either team managed a shot on goal.
The U.S. got their first shot of the third period just shy of the five-minute mark despite having an early power play when they failed to register a shot. Canada's first shot of the third period came well past the 12-minute mark.
"Any game when you play the U.S means a lot. For us it's a game prep going into the world championships and we're going take the momentum we built from this game and carry it on into the tournament," Fortino said.
"The U.S is very skilled and fast and they came out strong. This was a really good game."
The U.S outshot Canada 24-22 overall.
Notes: The first ever IIHF Women's World Championship was held in Ottawa in 1990. Canada won gold with a 5-2 win over the U.S. ... Canada is 61-39-1 all-time against the U.S.