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Great Success! Ford's Winner Propels Team USA Past Kazakhstan

Madison Smiddy (left) and defense partner Corey Robison (Grand Valley State) helped keep Kazakhstan at bay



It may have come too late for medal contention, but at the very least, the U.S. National University Select Team has found its stride before leaving Granada, Spain.

Emily Ford (Vermont) scored a power play goal halfway through overtime to complete a stirring comeback from a 2-0 hole, as Team USA bested Kazakhstan 3-2 in the World University Games classification round on Tuesday. The win was the second straight for the U.S. after dropping its opening two games, then routing Spain on Monday.

The Lady Ice Lions' Madison Smiddy enjoyed another stellar game as an international. She found Ford for the primary assist on the winner and earned a plus-one rating while ripping three shots on goal. In four total games, Smiddy has a goal, two assists (her three points are tied for the high number among Team USA defensemen, and tied for third Games-wide), ten shots, and a plus-five (another team best and tied for sixth in the tournament).

Still, had Team USA lost the game, the squad's power play that generated the decider would have enjoyed something other than hero status.

It misfired on its first ten looks with a numerical advantage, even while helping rack up an impressive 36 shots during regulation time. The units suffered the further ignominy of allowing a shorthanded goal, an unassisted marker by Zarina Tukhtiyeva with 1:07 left in the first period. Six minutes of game time later, Meruyert Ryspek added another - this time at even strength - to make it 2-0 Kazakhstan.

Miami's Katie Augustine got to work from there, nabbing a crucial goal assisted by RedHawks teammate Kaley Mooney to cut the deficit in half late in the second period. Then after roughly 15 more shots and three unconverted power plays, and with 2:37 separating the team from defeat, a third MU player, Hayley Williams, brought things level to force overtime.

Until finally cracking late, Kazakhstan's Aizhan Raushanova was outstanding in goal, ending with 41 saves on 44 shots. Caitlin Nosanov (Davenport) turned aside 23 shots for Team USA, including all 11 she faced during the third period. In addition to accounting for nine and eight shots repectively, Williams and Ford starred in the faceoff circle with 73.08 and 83.33 win percentages. The American penalty kill wasn't tested nearly as often as its special teams counterpart, but smothered both Kazakh power plays.

Team USA is scheduled to play one more classification game before heading home for the stretch drive of the ACHA season, on Friday at 7:30 a.m. against Spain, with a win there locking down fifth place at the World University Games. Prior to that, semifinalists Japan, Canada, China and Russia will have played each other on Wednesday and Thursday to settle the awarding of gold, silver and bronze medals.

Classification Group
GPWOTWOTLL+/-GF:GAPts.
1
United States
1
0
1
0
0
+1
3:2
2
2
Kazakhstan
1
0
0
1
0
-1
2:3
1
3
Spain
0
0
0
0
0
0
0:0
0

Date 
Opponent
Time (ET)Coverage/Result
Thu. Feb. 5
China
11:00 a.m.
L 1-2
Sat. Feb. 7
Japan
11:00 a.m.
L 1-4
Mon. Feb. 9
Spain
2:30 p.m.
W 9-1
Tue. Feb. 10
Kazakhstan
2:30 p.m.
W 3-2 (OT)
Fri. Feb. 13
Spain
7:30 a.m.

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