In the first period it was Team USA striking first as Kami Craig (Santa Barbara, CA/USC/SBWPF) worked free for a goal and 1-0 lead. Australia came right back, drawing a penalty 30 seconds later, tying the game on the penalty shot. Minutes later the Aussies took their first lead of the match with a power play goal to go ahead 2-1 with 5:06 left in the first. With 1:22 remaining the United States evened the match as Melissa Seidemann (Walnut Creek, CA/Stanford/Stanford) found Annika Dries (Laguna Beach, CA/Stanford/SET)on the counter attack for a goal. Priscilla Orozco (Commerce, CA/UCLA/Commerce) put Team USA back in front with a goal from outside with less than a second to play in the period.
Leading 3-2 the USA offense got into a groove in the second period while the defense held Australia scoreless. Dries got loose inside two meters for a score with a 4-2 lead with six minutes to go. Jillian Kraus (Santa Ana, CA/UCLA/SOCAL) followed that up with a power play strike and then Lolo Silver (Long Beach, CA/Stanford/NYAC) ripped the net with less than a minute to play in the first half. When the dust settled the United States had built a 6-2 lead at intermission.
In the third period Maggie Steffens (Danville, CA/Stanford/Diablo) kept the pace for the USA offense with a goal at the 6:40 mark to grab a 7-2 lead. Australia scored on their next possession to cut into the lead at 7-3. The United States would have the last word in the period on a score from Alys Williams (Huntington Beach, CA/UCLA/HBWPC) with five minutes left to take an 8-3 lead to the fourth period.
Australia tried to battle back in the match, drawing a penalty early on and converting to close within 8-4. With less than three minutes to play Kiley Neushul (Goleta, CA/Stanford/SBWPF) put the match away for the United States with a goal for a 9-4 lead. A late tally by Australia wouldn't factor in the decision as the United States grabbed the 9-5 victory.
Team USA struggled on the power play going just 1/6 and did not attempt any penalties. Australia went 3/11 on the player advantage and 2/2 on penalties. In earlier Holiday Cup action, Netherlands defeated Canada 10-5 and Russia stopped Greece 13-9.
Scoring - Scoresheet
USA 9 (3, 3, 2, 1) A. Dries 2, K. Craig 1, P. Orozco 1, J. Kraus 1. L. Silver 1, M. Steffens 1, A. Williams 1, K. Neushul 1
AUS 5 (2, 0, 1, 2)
Saves - USA - B. Armstrong 9
6x5 - USA - 1/6 - AUS 3/11
Penalties - USA 0/0 - AUS 2/2