ICE HOCKEY: Overtime goal gives Canada women’s World U-18 title over U.S.

Canada celebrates its first women's U-18 World Championship since 2014 (Photo: Robert Hradil/IIHF-IHOF)

It was the Americans and the Canadians once again in the final of the IIHF women’s World U-18 Championships in Obihiro (JPN) last Sunday. These are the only two teams who have met in the final over the 12 editions of the event, which began in 2008.

The U.S. was undefeated in group play, winning all three games, while Canada was 2-1, losing only to the U.S., 3-2.

In the final, Canada got the jump with a first-period, power-play goal from Danielle Serdachny, but the U.S. tied it in the second period with a power-play goal from Makenna Webster. And the U.S. looked like a possible winner with an Abbey Murphy goal just six minutes into the final period.

But the third U.S. penalty of the period gave Canada another power play and Anne Cherkowski scored to tie the game, assisted by Serdachny and Julia Gosling with 8:49 to play in the period. Neither side could score and the game went into overtime.

Once again, the U.S. was called for a penalty, just 45 seconds into the overtime and Maddi Wheeler at 1:34 of the overtime period for a 3-2 victory and the title, breaking a four-year hold on the title for the U.S.

“I just came off the bench, and with a four-on-three power play, I had a lot of space,” Wheeler said. “We’ve been doing well on our net drives, so I just went wide and cut in and had a bad-angle shot. The rebound popped out, and I buried it. I think because it’s a gold-medal game you have to do whatever you have to do to get a goal. I knew that even if I didn’t score, going to the net would create a good scoring opportunity. It did.”

“That’s the game of hockey,” said U.S. captain Dominique Petrie. “You have to score when you get the chances. We got a few, but it wasn’t enough. I commend them, but hopefully next time we get the bounces more than they will. We did a great job killing off penalties and getting the momentum back. When there are a lot of penalties, how you do on the power play and penalty kill will dictate whether you win or lose. They came out on top tonight.”

The game was closer than close. Both sides had 27 shots on goal, and the Canadians had nine penalties to eight for the U.S.

The award winners included Canada’s goalie Raygan Kirk as Most Valuable Player; Finland’s Elisa Holopainen as the Best Forward; Alexie Guay (CAN) as Best Defenseman and Saskia Maurer (SUI) as the Best Goaltender.

The All-Star Team included Maurer in goal; forwards Holopainen, Katy Knoll (USA) and Ilona Markova (RUS), and defenders Guay and Nelli Laitinen (FIN). Holopainen was the top scorer with eight points and five goals. Summaries:

IIHF Women’s World U-18 Championships
Obihiro (JPN) ~ 6-13 January 2019
(Full results here)

Final Standings: 1. Canada; 2. United States; 3. Finland; 4. Russia; 5. Sweden; 6. Switzerland; 7. Czech Republic; 8. Japan.

Quarterfinal/play-ins: Finland d. Sweden, 3-2 (OT); Russia d. Switzerland, 2-1 (shoot-out). Semis: United States d. Finland, 7-1; Canada d. Russia, 4-3 (OT). Third: Finland d. Russia, 3-0. Final: Canada d. U.S., 3-2 (OT).