Thursday, May 23, 2024

Canada wins overtime thriller over USA to win 2024 Women’s World Championship

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It was exactly what everyone wanted.

It was a thrilling game between the two best teams in the world, going down to the wire, in what may have been the greatest IIHF Women’s World Championship Gold Medal Game ever.

In a battle that went back and forth, it was one of Canada’s rising stars that came up clutch. Danielle Serdachny’s goal in overtime helped Canada get revenge on the United States, winning a record 13th gold medal with a 6-5 win.

An incredible game

It was a high-octane matchup, with both teams scoring at will.

Erin Ambrose put Canada on the board first just minutes into the game, but Laila Edward continued her hot streak with her sixth of the tournament.

Tied at one after 20 minutes, Julia Gosling notched her second for Canada in Utica, though Team USA’s Megan Keller tied the game just past the halfway mark of the game. The U.S. took its first lead with Alex Carpenter potting her seventh of the tournament, but Marie-Philip Poulin finally scored her first of the tournament late in the frame, sending the game tied at three heading into the third period.

U.S. captain Hilary Knight gave her team the lead once again before the halfway mark of the third, but a lucky bounce helped Emily Clark score her second of the tournament. Poulin would keep things going with her second of the game less than two minutes later, but Caroline Harvey tied the game with just minutes to go in regulation.

For the 10th time in Women’s World Championship history, the gold medal game would head to overtime.

Poulin had a chance to be the OT hero again, but missed on a breakaway. Not long after that, following a ridiculous save by American netminder Aerin Frankel, the United States took a too-many-players penalty. Serdachny would score her second goal of the tournament on the ensuing power play, giving Canada the win.

Ann-Renée Desbiens made 19 saves in the win, becoming the winningest Canadian goaltender in Women’s World Championship history by registering her 20th career win in the tournament.

Frankel made 24 saves in the losing effort.

It was the second-highest-scoring gold medal game in tournament history. The U.S. beat Canada, 7-5, in the 2015 Final in Malmo.

Redemption on enemy soil

After Canada’s bid for a three-peat was dashed in Brampton last year by the Americans, the goal was clear: return the favor.

While Sunday night’s crowd had a healthy mix of red and white scattered around the Adirondack Bank Center, the Canadians were able to silence the home fans.

Canada lost the matchup with the U.S. in the group stage, falling 1-0 in overtime thanks to a goal from Kirsten Simms. Coincidentally, Simms served the bench minor in overtime on Sunday.

Sunday marked the fifth time Canada and the United States met on American ice in the WWC Gold Medal Game. The Canadians have won four of those matchups, dating back to Lake Placid in 1994.

Canada is 13-10 against the U.S. in gold medal games at the Women’s Worlds, and now 5-4 in championship games that go beyond regulation.

Captain Clutch is back

Many wondered what kind of impact Marie-Philip Poulin would have heading into the tournament. The PWHL Montreal captain was injured on March 8 and had not played before traveling to Utica. The 33-year-old looked mortal early on, registering just two assists through six games.

However, Poulin did what she has done so many times before, and that is step up in the biggest games. Her two goals were vital for Canada to keep up with the U.S.

The goals were just the tip of the iceberg for Poulin. You saw glimpses of the speed, the confidence in her game that she has shown throughout her career, everything that we have grown to expect from the future Hall of Famer.

With the PWHL restarting this coming Thursday, you have to wonder if Poulin can carry the momentum from an incredible performance into the final stretch of the regular season for Montreal.

A Knight’s Tale

Though she came up on the losing end, Hilary Knight made history on Sunday. With the silver medal, the American captain was awarded the 14th medal of her Women’s Worlds career, making her the most decorated player in tournament history.

The 2023 IIHF Female Player of the Year has won nine gold medals with the U.S., finishing second now four times since she joined the senior national team in 2007. Knight holds the record for the most points in tournament history, scoring 111 points in 80 games. She surpassed Hockey Hall of Famer Hayley Wickenheiser back in 2022.

Finland back on the podium

The bronze medal game saw a fantastic battle between Finland and Czechia. The Finns came out with a much better effort after getting dominated by the Czechs in the first game of the tournament. The game ended up going to a shootout, with Finland hanging on to win the consolation game, 3-2.

It is Finland’s first medal since winning bronze in 2021. Suomi has won a record 14 bronze medals at the Women’s Worlds.

Tournament honors

Most Valuable Player – Laila Edwards (USA)

This one is a no-brainer. In just her first Women’s Worlds tournament, the University of Wisconsin star shined for the United States, finishing tied for the most goals in the tournament (6). With the fact that she is only going to be a junior next year, the sky is the limit for Edwards.

Best Goaltender – Sandra Abstreiter (Germany)

Another easy choice. The PWHL Ottawa netminder was simply sensational, especially in her shutout against Sweden, which helped Germany finish atop Group B. She led the tournament in save percentage (.950) and goals-against average (1.19).

Best Defender – Renata Fast (Canada)

Fast further showed what we already knew about her. A reliable blueliner with the knack of creating offense. She finished second in the tournament in plus/minus (+15) to her d-partner, Jocelyne Larocque. She finished second in defender scoring, leading Canada with six points.

Best Forward – Alex Carpenter (USA)

The player Edwards finished tied with for most goals in the tournament is the player who ended up tied for the most points. Carpenter was a dominant line with Knight and Kendall Coyne Schofield, who combined for 29 points in the tournament. Carpenter and Knight both registered 10 points in seven games.

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