The U.S. won its second straight women’s world hockey championship with a 4-1 win over Canada on Sunday. The Americans have won back-to-back titles for the first time after beating Canada 4-3 in last year’s final in Harbin, China.
The Americans are 4-2 versus their archrival in their last six games and are 3-0 in finals of their last three international tournaments.
Defenceman Caitlin Cahow scored a pair of goals and Meghan Duggan also scored for the U.S. Hilary Knight added an empty-net goal. Winnipeg’s Jennifer Botterill replied for Canada in front of 3,046 at Patria Arena. Charline Labonté of Boisbriand, Que., made her first start in a world championship final and stopped 25 shots, while U.S. counterpart Jessie Vetter made 39 saves.
The U.S. lost 2-1 to Canada in Friday’s playoff game on little rest as they’d beaten Finland the previous night. The Americans shifted into a higher gear after a day’s recovery Saturday and the Canadians were unprepared for the change of pace in the first period.
The U.S. spent much of Friday’s game shorthanded, but didn’t have a player in the penalty box for the first 40 minutes Sunday.
Cahow scored the Americans’ third goal on their second power play of the game with Canadian Sarah Vaillancourt serving a slashing minor. Cahow beat Labonté five-hole from the slot at 7:09 of the third on a feed from U.S. captain Natalie Darwitz.
After falling behind 1-0 after the first period, Canada wrested some momentum back with Botterill’s goal at 5:11 in the second period. But Duggan put the U.S. up a goal again at 10:10. Duggan, who was robbed in the first period of Friday’s game by Labonté, battled with Canadian defenceman Colleen Sostorics but got a wrist shot over Labonté’s glove to give the U.S. a 2-1 lead. Botterill beat Vetter low stick side on a feed from Caroline Ouellette, with Jayna Hefford providing the screen.
The U.S. scored on their first shift of the game. Jenny Potter found Cahow on the edge of Canada’s crease and the defenceman backhanded the puck over Labonté’s pad 24 seconds after the opening face-off. Canadian defenceman Carla MacLeod went down to smother Potter’s pass with her body and appeared to be injured as she slid into the end boards. She hobbled to the bench but was back on the ice a few shifts later.
The Americans’ speed took time and space away from Canada in all three zones of the ice. A Canadian puck carrier on the offensive boards often had two Americans collapsing onto her.
U.S. pressure forced Canada into low percentage passes and the Canadians turned the puck over in their own end and the neutral zone.
Host Finland won the bronze medal for the ninth time in the tournament’s history with a 4-1 win over Sweden in front of 3,027 spectators. The sparse women’s international hockey calendar traditionally consists of the World Championships, the annual Four Nations Cup involving the top four countries and a European Cup.
But the women’s hockey train will pick up steam heading into the Olympics as teams prepare for their sport’s showcase event. Canada and the U.S. have scheduled six exhibition games against each other next winter. In addition to the Four Nations Cup in Finland, an Olympic test event will be held in Vancouver starting Aug. 31. The Hockey Canada Cup will feature Canada, the U.S., Sweden and Finland.
While Finland and Sweden posted upsets over the U.S. and Canada respectively in 2008, the top two countries re-established the gap between themselves and the Scandinavians at these world championships.
Finland didn’t score a goal against either team and was outscored a combined 15-0. Canada blanked the Swedes 7-0 in the preliminary round. Switzerland and Russia, who have finished top four in the past, continue to sit in the bottom half of the field. So Canada and the U.S. remain well in front in the race for Olympic gold in Vancouver next February. A world championship isn’t held in an Olympic year. The 2011 tournament, in a location to be announced, will be reduced to an eight-team tournament instead of the nine-team format here. Total attendance at this year’s championship was 28,614.
00:24 – GOAL – Cahow (Knight, Schmidgall)
10:57 – PEN – Kellar, roughing
25:11 – GOAL – Botterill (Ouellette, Hefford)
30:10 – GOAL – Duggan (J. Lamoureux)
46:24 – PEN – Vaillancourt, slashing
47:09 – PP GOAL – Cahow (Darwitz, Marvin)
59:51 – EN GOAL – Knight (Chu)
W: Vetter (39-40)
L: Labonté (26-29)
SHOTS ON GOAL
10+12+7 = 29
14+12+14 = 40
Goaltenders: Molly Schaus, Jessie Vetter. Defence: Kacey Bellamy, Caitlin Cahow, Lisa Chesson, Molly Engstrom, Helen Resor, Angela Ruggiero, Kerry Weiland. Forwards: Julie Chu, Natalie Darwitz, Meghan Duggan, Hilary Knight, Erika Lawler, Jocelyne Lamoureux, Monique Lamoureux, Gigi Marvin, Jenny Schmidgall, Kelli Stack, Karen Thatcher.
Goaltenders: Charline Labonté, Kim St-Pierre. Defence: Tessa Bonhomme, Gillian Ferrari, Becky Kellar, Carla MacLeod, Meaghan Mikkelson, Colleen Sostorics, Catherine Ward. Forwards: Meghan Agosta, Gillian Apps, Jennifer Botterill, Jayna Hefford, Haley Irwin, Rebecca Johnston, Gina Kingsbury, Caroline Ouellette, Marie-Philip Poulin, Sarah Vaillancourt, Hayley Wickenheiser.
|UNITED STATES||vs.||CANADA (C)|
|Last Title||reign ends
(+ 1 tie)
|First IHLC Meeting (USA vs. CAN)
CAN 2-1 USA – 04/21/1987 – WWT – North York
|Previous IHLC Meeting (USA vs. CAN)
CAN 2-1 USA – 04/10/2009 – WWC – Hämeenlinna
|Last IHLC Game
CAN 2-1 USA – 04/10/2009 – WWC – Hämeenlinna
|Next IHLC Game
FIN 3-2 USA – 08/31/2009 – HCC – Vancouver