Hilary Knight scored twice and added an assist in front of a record-setting crowd of 14,551 Sunday night at Climate Pledge Arena, gathered for a 4-2 U.S. Women’s National Team victory over Team Canada in Game 3 of the hockey powers’ Rivalry Series.

Lee Stecklein sprang Knight on a breakaway and the four-time Olympian had time to get creative. Team Canada goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens dropped and Knight sent it over her left leg for a 3-1 lead.

“There’s going to be a lot of young girls in Seattle that want to be Hilary Knight or Kendall Coyne, after that game,” U.S. national team head coach John Wroblewski said.

Before the opening puck drop, Knight was presented with a gold stick to commemorate her 87th career point at the IIHF World Championships, which made her the all-time points leader as of Sept. 1. Canadian Hayley Wickenheiser previously held the record.

Wroblewski has a phrase he keeps deploying, whether Knight is enjoying her pregame meal or coming close to a hat trick after such a ceremony.

“It’s just another chapter in the story, ‘The Legend of Hilary Knight,’” he said. “It just keeps growing.”


Knight scored the only goal of the third period as well, on a power play. Kelly Pannek sent it to Knight, who slid the puck right up the middle and past Desbiens (25 saves).

In two stops in Seattle — one before a two-game swing through western Canada, then right before Sunday’s game on the Kraken’s home ice — Team USA made time for community outreach.

“I’ve never had so many people at our practices,” goaltender Nicole Hensley said. “Hopefully it was a really inspiring week for all of them, and I can’t wait to see the hockey players that come out of this area.”

Hensley, 28, recalled her own version of this week, in 2002 right before the Salt Lake City Winter Games. Team USA made a stop in Denver near her hometown.

“That was the first time I’d ever seen women playing,” Hensley said. “Immediately I was like, ‘That’s what I want to do.’ We know how powerful that is because we lived it as kids.”

The big Seattle practice crowds translated to the highest attendance at a home game in U.S. Women’s National Team history, according to USA Hockey.


“I think it’s a great test event,” Knight said. “If you demonstrate that the women, at the elite level, are coming to play in your city, people are going to show up. We saw that tonight.

“Obviously it’s a special crowd, just because of the sports city, the Kraken and all the excitement with hockey and the buzz right now. … It’s just a proof of concept that we continue to be able to put in people’s faces and say: ‘Look, here are the numbers. You’ve got to support us more.’”

After saluting Knight, fans were on their feet 40 seconds into the game. Savannah Harmon opened the scoring early, with Knight contributing the primary assist. Marie-Philip Poulin evened the score for Canada with 7:10 left in the first period.

Team USA nearly scored in the first minute of the second period, too. A chance slid just wide of the far post seconds in and the Americans had to settle for a power play instead.

Team Canada had a short-handed chance broken up, then the U.S. came back on a 3-on-2. Kendall Coyne Schofield carried the puck over the blue line and sent it to Amanda Kessel, who tapped it to Abby Roque. Roque smashed it home for a 2-1 lead.

Sarah Nurse got Team Canada within one heading into the third period. Nurse slid back from the action, got a well-placed bounce off the boards and buried it to make it 3-2.


Wroblewski credited Hensley (22 saves) with keeping Canada at bay after that.

“Canada will have a response for us now, after this,” he said. “We need to make sure we’re sharp and continue to grow as a federation as well.”

It was the third time in a week the all-too-familiar squads faced off, with Team USA taking the first two games of the seven-part Rivalry Series in British Columbia — one in a shootout, one in regulation, respectively. Kessel and Nurse got into a shoving match between the benches. Later most of the players on the ice were involved or monitoring as the pushing started to the right of Hensley’s net.

“Very difficult team to play against and close out,” Knight said. “I’m really proud of our group, to be able to go out there, shift by shift, grind them down and be able to come out with a win. Especially on home soil. We rarely get to play down here, so it’s awesome.”