For the second straight year, the United States women’s under 18 hockey team defeated Canada in a close and highly contested battle. The final score was 3-1 for the U.S. With that, they took home the gold medal, which was the US team’s sixth in the ten years of the events existence. Not surprisingly, Canada has gold in the other four years.
As the game got underway, the U.S. team used their speed to put pressure on Canada and kept the puck in their end, but weren’t able to really generate many good shots. Canada then picked up the pace and generated some pressure on U.S. goalie Alex Gulstene, but they too were not able to score. The period ended with no scoring.
The U.S. came out strong in the second period, and at the 5:11 mark were able to draw a penalty on Canada. Shortly thereafter Delaney Drake scored to put the Americans on top 1-0.
“We’ve been spending a lot of time working on the power play, moving the puck quicker,” Drake said. “Clair DeGeorge made a really good pass to me down low,and I pulled it and shot between the goalie’s skates, and it went in.”
That was all the scoring in the second. Canada did end up with a couple of power play chances but was not able to convert.
Both teams battled hard in the third period. But Allyson Simpson of the U.S. was called for a penalty midway through the period to put Canada on the power play. And this time they answered. Although they waited until just one second remained in the penalty when Daryl Watts scored to tie the game for Canada.
With the possibility of an overtime period looming, the U.S. was determined to get back ahead. Just a little less than four minutes after Watts had scored to tie it, Grace Zumwinkle scored off a rebound on a 2-on-1 break, putting the Americans back in front.
Canada was unable to tie the game and Emily Oden scored on an empty netter with just 5.9 seconds remaining for the final margin of victory.
“We all worked hard to get to this point,” U.S. goalie Alex Gulstene offered. “They got that late goal, but we rallied and got the 2-1 lead. It was unbelievable. We got the next goal and won the game. It makes the blood, sweat, and tears of training worth it.”
“We had a really good mix of returning players and younger players,” said coach USA Joel Johnson. “I think what made us special was that we got better as the tournament went on. The players trusted each other, and some took on different roles than they’re used to. But the whole team stepped up.”
For Canada, it was a second straight disappointing gold medal game but they should still be proud of a great effort.
“I thought both teams battled hard,” said Canada’s Amy Potomak. “In the end, the bounces didn’t go our way, but I’m extremely proud of the team.”
Both teams now have next year’s championship to look forward to and who knows, maybe another rematch with each other.
The HockeyClan Writers