Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Knight’s scoring leads Team USA in Finland

Unbeaten going into today’s finale

Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley’s Hilary Knight skates during April’s IIHA Women’s World Championships in Switzerland. Courtesy photo

Sun Valley's Hilary Knight is the leading goal scorer for the U.S. Women's National Team in the 2011 International Ice Hockey Federation 12 Nations Invitational Tournament Series being held Aug. 23-Sept. 3 at Vierumäki, Finland.

On Tuesday, Knight scored a power-play goal early in the second period breaking a scorless tie and leading Team USA to a 2-0 victory over Sweden. It was Knight's ninth goal in five games as Team USA remained unbeaten in the eight-team 12 Nations tournament.

Three-time defending world champion Team USA (5-0-0) has now outscored its 12 Nations opponents 42-1 including the following victories: 12-0 over Russia, 13-0 over Japan, 11-1 over Switzerland, 4-0 over Canada and 2-0 over Sweden. Team USA meets host Finland today, Wednesday in its final game.

Finland (5-0-0, 25-1 goals against) clashed with Canada (3-1-0, 41-5 goals against) later Tuesday in another big clash.

Knight started her week in Finland being named U.S. Player of the Game last Wednesday, Aug. 24, in Team USA's tournament opening 12-0 win over Russia. She scored a three-goal hat trick in that game and out-shot Russia 46-11.

On Aug. 25 Team USA out-shot Japan 79-9 and outscored them 13-0, Knight scoring once. She tallied back-to-back goals in a 17-second span Saturday for an early 4-1 Team USA lead en route to the 11-1 victory over Switzerland. Sunday, Knight scored the third goal in a four-goal second-period outburst for the 4-0 win over Canada.

Knight, 22, was the top scorer on the 22-player American roster featuring players ages 17-25. In April, she scored the world championship-winning goal in overtime at the 2011 IIHF World Women's Championship in Switzerland.

For her effort, Knight was chosen as the U.S. Olympic Committee's Athlete of the Month for April and also received the Key to Sun Valley. Fifteen members of the world championship team were on the roster of this week's tournament in Finland.

Team USA is aiming next for the 2012 IIHF Women's World Championships April 7-14, 2012 at Gutterson Fieldhouse and Cairns Arena in Burlington, Vt. It will be the third women's world championship in the U.S. (1994 Lake Placid, 2001 Minneapolis). Team USA, coached by Harvard's head women's coach Katey Stone, will be looking for its first gold at home.

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