CALGARY — Given the opportunity, Canada's Jamie Lee Rattray made the most of it with two goals in Thursday's 5-1 win over the United States in the women's world hockey championship.
Rattray was Canada's spare forward for a couple of games in the preliminary round.
With captain Marie-Philip Poulin out of the lineup recovering from a hard shot to the chest, Rattray's role expanded.
The 28-year-old from Kanata, Ont., filled the void with back-to-back goals in the second period.
"Any time I get out there I want to make an impact, whether that's one shift or 10 shifts," Rattray said.
"You can't really fill Pou's shoes. She's obviously a leader on this team and she has been for a long time, but I think we did a really good job. Everyone stepped up and did the roles that they needed to."
Melodie Daoust had a goal and an assist for the host country, which scored its five goals in the first half of the game.
Canada topped Pool A at 4-0 ahead of defending champion U.S. at 3-1. The Canadians take on Germany and the U.S. faces Japan in Saturday's quarterfinals.
Daoust leads Canada in tournament points with three goals and four assists in four games.
Sarah Nurse scored shorthanded and Renata Fast also scored in Canada's largest margin of victory against the Americans since a 5-1 win Oct. 25, 2017 in Boston.
"I think it's huge for us," Rattray said. "Every time we play anybody, but especially them we always want to beat them with the rivalry over the years.
"It was pretty fun to be a part of that win, that's for sure."
Goaltender Ann-Renee Desbiens stopped 22-of-23 shots for the win. Brianne Jenner, who wore the 'C' in Poulin's absence, had two assists.
Lee Stecklein replied for the Americans in their first meeting with Canada since the conclusion of their five-game Rivalry Series on Feb. 8, 2020 in Anaheim, Calif.
The U.S. won 4-3 in overtime to take that series 4-1.
American goaltender Alex Cavallini was pulled for Nicole Hensley after giving up four goals on 20 shots before the midway point of Thursday's game. Hensley turned away six shots in relief.
"We got away from our game. In fact, we never played our game," U.S. forward Kendall Coyne Schofield said. "You take this game and you don't repeat any of it except Lee's goal for Team USA.
"You have to give credit where credit is due. Canada played a phenomenal game today and we didn't."
The U.S. didn't give up a goal in its first three games of the world championship in Calgary.
Finland (2-2) finished third in Pool A with a 6-0 win over Switzerland. The Finns face the Czech Republic, the Pool B winner at 4-0, in a quarterfinal Saturday.
Japan (3-1) earned second seed in Pool B with Thursday's 2-1 win over the Germans (2-2).
Russia (1-3) and Switzerland (0-4) were fourth and fifth in Pool A respectively and will meet in Saturday's other quarterfinal.
The semifinals are Monday followed by Tuesday's medal games.
Poulin was scratched after taking a shot to the upper chest in Tuesday's 5-0 win over the Swiss. A decision has yet to be made on her return to the lineup.
"Our medical team and our management team will continue to evaluate the situation," Canadian head coach Troy Ryan said.
The Canadians stymied the U.S. with a ferocious forecheck and outshot the Americans 15-4 in the opening period to lead 2-0.
The U.S. pushed back in the third with an 11-4 edge in shots, but generated one goal. Stecklein threaded a shot from the blue-line through traffic at 2:44.
Nurse scored shorthanded on a 2-on-1 with Jenner at 10:36 of the second. Play continued after Nurse's shot ricocheted quickly out of the net, until it was reviewed and ruled a goal.
Rattray scored twice in the period on a wraparound at 7:16 and on a rebound at 4:18.
"Rattray has filled that 13th forward a couple times and we're comfortable taking her right from the 13th forward spot right into the top line and playing some power-play minutes," Ryan said.
"Part of the reason why it was easy for us to select her was her versatility."
Cavallini couldn't corral the loose puck in front of her and Fast chipped it over the prone goaltender at 13:50 of the first period. The goal was initially waived off, but ruled valid upon review.
Canada produced a first-period goal for the first time in the tournament when the puck sprang off the backboards to Daoust, who scored from her knees at 7:13.
Notes: The all-time points leaders in the women's world hockey championship are retired Canadians Hayley Wickenheiser (86) and Jayna Hefford (33) . . . Natalie Spooner earned her 100th career point with the national team with an assist.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 26, 2021.
Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press