The United States secured their third straight World Women’s Ice Hockey Championship title with a dramatic 1-0 overtime victory over hosts and Olympic champions Canada in the gold medal game at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops.
The 17th consecutive meeting between the two arch-rivals had ended scoreless after regulation time and it looked to be heading towards a shootout until Alex Carpenter reacted quickest in a goalmouth scramble to net what proved to be the winner.
Carpenter’s late strike handed the Americans their seventh crown from the last nine tournaments and condemned the Sochi 2014 gold medallists to another agonising defeat, much to the disappointment of the majority of the near 6,000 fans inside the venue.
It was a similarly close affair in the bronze medal contest as Russia avenged their loss at the same stage of the 2015 competition to Finland thanks to Olga Sosina scoring the vital goal in a shootout after a 0-0 draw.
The result handed Russia, beaten 9-0 by the US in the semi-final, their third-ever bronze medal having previously rounded off the podium in 2001 and 2003.
The day, however, once again belonged to the formidable Americans, who are already strong favourites for the Olympic crown at Pyeongchang 2018 and will bid for a fourth consecutive World Women’s Ice Hockey Championship title on home ice in Plymouth next year.
“It’s always exciting to win a World Championship, but to win it against your arch-rivals in their building just makes it that much sweeter,” US captain Megan Duggan said.
The nature of the encounter was in stark contrast to the 2015 final, won by the Americans 7-5, though both teams came firing out of the blocks in a thrilling opening.
Canada’s Bailey Bram had the first real opportunity but she was denied by Alex Rigsby in the Amercian goaltender, before Jillian Saulnier also squandered a decent chance to give the hosts the lead.
Despite Brianna Decker’s sending-off, which left the US a player light, Carpenter nearly put her side in front but Emerance Maschmeyer was equal to her effort.
The Canadians had the better of the first two periods and continued to dominate in the third but could not find a way past the imposing Rigsby, who kept her side in it with a string of fine saves.
Meghan Agosta then had two brilliant chances in the overtime period after neither side could find the net in the fourth stanza, shooting wide on her first attempt before Rigsby blocked her second strike.
With the match veering towards a shootout, the US attacked and scored with 12min 30sec on the clock as Carpenter bundled home, sparking jubilant scenes from her team amid a silenced Sandman Centre arena.
“It’s really frustrating because we played so well and our team deserved to win,” said Maschmeyer, named the tournament’s best goalkeeper.
“But we didn’t get the bounces.”
- By Liam Morgan
- Republished with permission insidethegames.biz