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U.S. Olympic team sweeps pair of exhibition games against NWHL All-Star team

WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla., January 15 – Connecticut Whale forward Kelly Babstock was the only Whale player on Team NWHL, a group of National Women’s Hockey league All-Stars that played the U.S. Olympic team in a two-game series in Florida to help the Americans prepare for the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in South Korea.

The U.S. Olympians swept the exhibition series with a 3-0 victory on Saturday and a 6-2 victory on Monday night. Babcock had one shot on goal in Saturday’s loss to Team USA and four shots in Monday night’s four-goal defeat.

Metropolitan goalie Katie Fitzgerald made 24 saves for Team NWHL in the first two periods of game one but the Olympians scored three times in the third period. Gigi Marvin, Amanda Pelkey and Jocelyne Lamoureux scored for Team USA

Marvin gave the Americans a 1-0 lead just 2:08 into the third period, gathering the puck on the boards, skated toward the net and ripped a shot past Fitzgerald from the bottom of the right faceoff circle.

With 7:19 left in the game, Pelkey scored a short-handed goal after forcing a turnover at the blue line. Team USA iced the game when Lamoureux-Davidson took a cross-ice pass from Kelly Pannek and beat Fitzgerald for a 3-0 lead.

In the second game on Monday night, Team NWHL took a 1-0 lead when Buffalo’s Hayley Scamurra took a pass from Boston’s Jordan Smelker and snuck it past the left pad of U.S. goalie Alex Rigsby. Team USA had a 13-4 edge in shots on goal after one period but Boston goalie Brittany Ott was sharp for Team NWHL.

Team USA exploded for five goals in the second period to take command. The U.S. got on the board just 2:43 into the second period when Kelly Pannek carried the puck into the offensive zone and connected with Monique Lamoureux-Morando, who skated down the middle and scored.

Just 1:15 later, Kendall Coyne passed the puck to the top of the crease where Brianna Decker was waiting to bang home the go-ahead goal. Lamoureux-Morando added her second goal of the game when she gathered her own rebound and scored 5:05 into the period.

On the power play halfway through the second period, Brandt waited on the post for a pass from Amanda Kessel  and scored to give the U.S. a three-goal advantage. With 3:39 remaining, Haley Skarupa added a tally, off assists from Cayla Barnes  and Dani Cameranesi to give the U.S. a 5-1 advantage.

Team USA outshot Team NWHL, 40-16 in the contest.

Smelker had a goal in the third period for Team NWHL with Skarupa adding an empty net goal for the Americans.

NOTES: Nine players on the 2018 U.S. Olympic team competed in the NWHL last season including Emily Pfalzer, who helped the Buffalo Beauts win the 2017 Isobel Cup. Kacey Bellamy, Brianna Decker, Meghan Duggan, Hilary Knight, Gigi Marvin and Amanda Pelkey played for Boston; Amanda Kessel with New York; and Haley Skarupa with the Connecticut Whale. Skarupa did sign with Boston in the offseason and would have skated with the Pride had she not been selected for the Olympic team.

Information from the U.S. Olympic women’s hockey team used to compile this report.

Since 2009, the Collinsville Press has been providing award-winning coverage of sports and news in the Farmington Valley and across Connecticut.

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