Americans eager to get first crack at Canada

ADAM WAZNY

, Last Updated: 10:34 AM ET

SELKIRK -- After two relatively easy games before polite crowds in Steeltown, the United States women's hockey team is ready for a more hostile environment.

Downtown Winnipeg.

Some of the players aren't really sure what they're getting into.

"The veterans on the team have told us what it's all about," forward Gigi Marvin said prior to the United States' 9-1 victory over China before 1,486 at the Selkirk Rec Complex last night.

As expected, the U.S. claimed top spot in Group A and will face the first-place finisher in Group B tomorrow at MTS Centre (3:30 p.m., TSN). That opponent just happens to be rival Canada -- who will not only bring the toughest on-ice test to the skillful Americans but a large partisan crowd, as well.

Marvin, 20, is one of eight U.S. players making their first world championship appearance. Six of those players saw time at the Four Nations Cup in Kitchener last November, giving them an idea of what to expect from a U.S.-Canada affair.

"I've played Canada twice already, but I guess it will get even more amazing," Marvin said. "We heard so many stories about how many people there will be in Winnipeg. I can speak for all of us when I say that we're very excited to finally step on the ice against Canada."

Kristin King, Krissy Wendell, Caitlin Cahow, Erika Lawler, Sarah Parsons, Molly Engstrom, Jinelle Zaugg, and two from Natalie Darwitz provided the offence for the U.S. -- who fired 65 shots at Chinese goalie Yao Shi and have yet to break a sweat against lesser teams.

Chanda Gunn faced 14 shots, a shorthanded breakaway goal from Rui Sun the only blemish on her night.

"The key in a tournament like this is to get better as the games go on, you want to be playing a lot better at the end than when you started," commented U.S. head coach Mark Johnson.

We'll see where the Americans (and Canadians) are at tomorrow afternoon.


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