'We just played bad'

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:19 AM ET

It may be women's hockey, but they sure don't speak like dainty little ladies.

"I was honest," Canadian head coach Melody Davidson said. "I just said we were horses---."

U.S. 5 CANADA 3

That's what Davidson told her team after a 5-3 loss to the U.S. yesterday afternoon in an exhibition tilt at MTS Centre.

The contest, which was the final matchup between the world's top two teams before next month's Winter Olympics in Italy, attracted 12,628 screaming fans, many of whom were dressed from head to toe in red and white.

Canada is 8-2 against the U.S. since September, but yesterday's poor showing definitely wasn't the way the Canucks wanted to leave things with their arch rivals going into the Olympics.

Then again, it might serve as a wakeup call and not let the Canadians get too far ahead of themselves.

"Everyone in that room knows damn well they didn't show up," Davidson said. "We've got six or seven weeks left (before the Olympics), but we're just real disappointed that we didn't show the crowd and the rest of the country (on TSN) where we're at and what we can do.

"But we will when the time comes."

Krissy Wendell led the U.S. with two goals and an assist, including a tally just 21 seconds into the game.

"You could probably tell from the early beginnings maybe a tenseness and the pressure that was on the home team," U.S. head coach Ben Smith said. "We never have that luxury."

Canada spent the rest of the game trying to keep up, and even though Gina Kingsbury, Danielle Goyette and Cheryl Pounder tied the game at 1-1, 2-2 and 3-3, respectively, Kristen King scored the game-winner with 5:44 remaining in the third period, and Wendell added an insurance marker with 2:53 left.

Katie King and Jenny Potter had the other American markers.

"We didn't bring our best performance, we weren't playing together, and we didn't have any jump," said Winnipeg's Jennifer Botterill, who was held pointless. "We looked flat."

Team Canada leader Hayley Wickenheiser, who had two assists, said Davidson's blunt assessment of the team's play was quite accurate.

"We couldn't make two passes and in our own end it was sloppy," Wickenheiser said. "There's no excuses. We just played bad.

'PLENTY OF MILES'

"... We lost twice (to the U.S.), and we played terrible both games. We know that when we beat ourselves, they usually beat us."

Smith wasn't putting any stock in the belief that his team now has the upper hand heading into the Olympics.

"There's plenty of miles to go before we sleep," Smith said. "It's just another game in the books."

Davidson, of course, was feeling the same way, and she hopes there will be a silver lining as well.

"This should just make us hungrier," she said.

Charline Labonte made 17 stops for Canada, while Pam Dreyer turned aside 25 shots in the U.S. net.

Dreyer's best save of the day came on a Gillian Apps breakaway with 12 seconds remaining in the second period. That kept the score tied at 2-2 going into the third period.


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