U.S., Canada fight in Olympic hockey tune-up
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Jocelyne Lamoureux took exception to Brianne Jenner’s late run at Josephine Pucci, setting off another fiery round in the U.S. women’s hockey team’s rivalry with Canada.
Lamoureux nailed Jenner with an illegal bodycheck and, seconds later, Lamoureux, sister Monique and U.S. teammates Hilary Knight, Gigi Marvin and Kacey Bellamy were brawling with Canada’s Jenner, Melodie Daoust, Jocelyne Larocque, Meaghan Mikkelson and Vicki Bendus.
“I think we came in and defended our teammates, did what we had to do,” Jocelyne Lamoureux, a former University of North Dakota star playing in her home rink, said after the Americans’ 4-1 victory Friday night in the pre-Olympic exhibition game. “It’s always going to be heated (against Canada). The intensity is always going to be there.”
The referees handed out 10 fighting majors and a string of other infractions after the melee with nine seconds to play. The two teams also fought in October late in a game in Burlington, Vt., with all 10 skaters squaring off late in the third period. They had another big scrap in 2010.
“I’m not a proponent of fighting in hockey, but I am a proponent of standing up for yourself,” U.S. coach Katey Stone said. “We will not be pushed around.”
The Lamoureux sisters, Knight and Brianna Decker scored for the Americans.
Emotions began boiling over midway through the third period after a pair of roughing penalties against Decker and Canada’s Meghan Acosta-Marciano.
“We’re prepared to play whatever game we have to play,” Stone said. “We’ll go hard, we’ll play clean, but if the game gets out of hand we’ll manage that as well.”
Young girls in the crowd cheered wildly as Jocelyne Lamoureux was led to the penalty box. The Grand Forks native recalled watching as a youngster when the U.S. women’s team played a game at the arena before the 2002 Olympics.
“I remember thinking, this is where I want to be and this is what I want to do,” Lamoureux said. “So if I can do that for someone else and our team can be an inspiration for some of these little girls that came out here tonight, then that’s pretty cool.”
Haley Irwin scored for Canada.
Kevin Dineen, fired last month as coach of the NHL’s Florida Panthers, directed the Canadian team for the first time after taking over for Dan Church.
“It was up and down,” Dineen said. “We had some good spurts and we fell off. Moving forward, we’ll look for a little more consistency out of this group. Certainly there’s some skill out there.”
Church resigned Dec. 12, hours before the two teams met in Calgary, Alberta, saying he felt others lacked confidence in his ability to lead the country to a fourth consecutive gold medal.
The teams will meet again Dec. 28 in St. Paul, Minn.