The Canadian All-Stars scored a 2-1 victory over the American All-Stars in the inaugural Elite Women's 3-on-3 game as part of the 2020 NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Friday night at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis.
Rebecca Johnston gave Canada the lead in the first half with a terrific individual effort that finished with a slick move on a breakaway for the opening goal.
Melodie Daoust increased the Canadian lead to 2-0 early in the second half with a laser past the blocker of American netminder Alex Rigsby Cavallini on the rush.
Hilary Knight, one of the stars of the 2018 Winter Olympics, brought the Americans back within a goal midway through the second on a breakaway.
Canadian goalie Ann-Renee Desbiens made a glove save on Amanda Kessel just before the buzzer to preserve the victory.
It marked the third straight year that female players were invited to the NHL's All-Star Weekend, and Friday's two-period game represented their most extensive involvement to date.
The 20 players who took part in the contest are part of the Professional Women's Hockey Players Association, which is boycotting the 2019-20 National Women's Hockey League season in an effort to create an environment where a women's hockey league can provide a livable salary and health insurance.
"We're honored and thrilled that they're here," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Thursday. "The conversation I've had with the women who are here confirms to me that they're delighted to be here, and we're honored and delighted to have them participating because I believe that our platform shines an even greater light on them."
Former star players Cammi Granato (Team USA) and Jayna Hefford (Team Canada), who are both in the Hockey Hall of Fame, served as the head coaches.
The game added some intrigue to the Skills Competition, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see the event become a staple of All-Star Weekend to help showcase the talent on the women's side of the sport.