Pfalzer, USWNT Shift Focus To Four Nations Cup, New Quad

U.S. Squad Have Sights Set On Capturing Four Nations Cup

The United States Women’s National Team reached the pinnacle of women’s hockey last February, outlasting Canada, 2-1, in a shootout victory in the gold-medal game of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. 


While the U.S. will be the defending Olympic champion until Beijing 2022 at least, the work to continue to uphold their expectations and hold onto that title starts this week in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan with the Four Nations Cup, running Nov. 6 to Nov. 10. 


The four-country ensemble, joining the U.S. are Canada, Finland and Sweden, kicks off the start of a new quad, but the same commitment to excellence this group of women strive for.


“We obviously last quad worked really hard every year,” defenseman Emily Pfalzer said. “Now it’s a new cycle so we’re ready to get back on it and keep working hard for the next time.”


The United States has done well in the Four Nations Cup, collecting 1st place finishes each of the past three years.


Last year the U.S. ran the table, going a perfect 4-0-0-0 and outscoring the opposition 22-5 in Tampa, Fla. Pfalzer led all U.S. blueliners with six points, powered by a hat trick performance against Finland to kick off the tournament.

 An essential piece of the USWNT defensive corps, Pfalzer roams the blue line for the Buffalo Beauts of the NWHL.An essential piece of the USWNT defensive corps, Pfalzer roams the blue line for the Buffalo Beauts of the NWHL.

While that was last year and the slate is wiped clean for a new quad, the confidence and swagger of what happened in PyeongChang still lingers.


“I think it’s just a culmination of all their hard work over the last eight years,” head coach Bob Corkum said. “When you’re on top, there’s always somebody who wants to take your position. Everybody’s coming for us and we know that. We have to find ways not to be complacent and just keep moving forward.”


The United States opened with a 5-1 win over Finland on Tuesday. Canada follows on Wednesday, with the anticipated matchup in the primetime slot of 8pm ET at the Sasktel Centre. 


After a day off, the women’s squad battles with Sweden at 4pm ET on Friday, giving way to the Championship/Third-Place games on Saturday.


“I think Four Nations is fun to kick off the year with everyone and playing international games,” Pfalzer, a native of Buffalo, N.Y., said. “It’s a great start to the year and finding out what we can improve on and keep working on everything.”


The U.S. squad is composed of 16 Olympians off of the 2018 U.S. Women’s Olympic Ice Hockey Team, with a handful of college players making their Four Nations Cup debut. Of the 23 players total, 10 states are represented. 

Most recently serving as an assistant coach for the New York Islanders from 2013-17, Corkum is getting a grasp for the group of talented women and the women’s hockey game. He was an assistant for the U.S. Under-22 Women’s Select Team for the U-22 Series vs. Canada in Calgary this past August, helping push them to a three-game sweep.


Corkum, a native of Salisbury, Mass., knows he’s been put in a promising situation, at the helm of a fast and experienced group that still possesses the desire to improve, with a lot to continue to prove. They got their first taste of the new quad with a 5-1 win over Finland, and are eager to clash with Canada on Wednesday.


“The women’s hockey program is at the top of the mountain right now,” Corkum said. “We intend to stay there and we’re going to do everything in our power to make sure we’re there at the end of the day.”

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