In a historic rivalry that never ceases to amaze, it was another barn-burner, albeit a defensive one, that capped off the Gold Medal tilt for the Women’s World Championship title. And for the third straight tournament, and seventh time in nine tries, the Americans outlasted their rivals to capture Gold, unifying the title with the International Hockey Lineal Championship.
This was a classic goaltender duel at its simplest, between Alex Rigsby, often the American backup behind the likes of Jessie Vetter or Molly Schaus, against Emerance Maschmeyer, the young unlikely starter taking the place of veteran Charline Labonté. While both defenses were sharp, this game was played very wide open on both sides, each squad knowing the importance of an early lead. But with big breakaway stops on Kendall Coyne by Maschmeyer and Brianne Jenner and Meghan Agosta by Rigsby, both sides were scoreless through one.
Much of the same continued throughout the game, with both sides refusing to give an inch, despite late penalty troubles for Team USA. Rigsby was on fire throughout the game, robbing the heavy hands of Agosta, Natalie Spooner, Marie-Philip Poulin and Brianne Jenner, particularly the latter on a wild scramble with less than ten seconds remaining in regulation. Full marks as well go to the young Maschmeyer, who played an excellent game in rebound control, and refusing to be shook when stopping multiple Alex Carpenter breakaways, and big scoring opportunities from snipers Hilary Knight and Monique Lamoureux. Regulation ended scoreless, with Canada leading in shots 25-23, but the scores showing two giant goose eggs.
Overtime provided plenty of drama from the get-go, with a late Monique Lamoureux penalty to close the third giving Canada an early 4-on-3 advantage. But Rigsby continued to stonewall, with her and Maschmeyer continuing to outduel each other, both helping their respective squads kill off costly overtime penalties. And despite Canada managing to kill off a late Halli Krzyzaniak holding penalty midway through overtime, and Maschmeyer robbing captain Meghan Duggan on a breakaway from an awful turnover, the pressure eventually boiled over. A seemingly harmless Megan Bozek point shot fell behind Maschmeyer just short of the goal line, and Carpenter, stymied already on multiple breakaway opportunities, simply tapped the puck mere inches to clinch the Gold Medal for Team USA.
With the win, Team USA retains their International Hockey Lineal Championship, their 28th title, and ensures they keep the title into next season, at least until the next Four Nations Cup in the fall. This marks the 128th IHLC game between these countries, and 17th straight World Championship Gold Medal Game, with Canada winning ten and Team USA seven; this marked their first game since the tournament opener, a 3-1 U.S. victory. Normally much more offensive tilts, this marks just the fifth time in 128 games with a 1-0 score, the first since a 2012 exhibition game, and the second Gold Medal Game, the first being the Americans’ first ever Gold title in 2005. The U.S. now pulls to an even record in Kamloops, avenging a group round and Gold Medal loss here at the 2014 Four Nations Cup.
09:27 – PEN – Lacquette, interference
10:35 – PEN – Coyne, interference
30:12 – PEN – Decker, hooking
43:07 – PEN – Duggan, tripping
46:03 – PEN – Larocque, interference
50:07 – PEN – M. Lamoureux, roughing
59:52 – PEN – M. Lamoureux, hooking
67:41 – PEN – Stecklein, hooking
70:10 – PEN – Krzyzaniak, holding
72:30 – GOAL – Carpenter (J. Lamoureux, Bozek)
W: Rigsby (32-32)
L: Maschmeyer (33-34)
SHOTS ON GOAL
5+9+9+11 = 34
9+12+4+7 = 32
Goaltenders: Alex Rigsby, Jessie Vetter. Defence: Kacey Bellamy (A), Megan Bozek, Megan Keller, Monique Lamoureux (A), Emily Pfalzer, Michelle Picard, Lee Stecklein. Forwards: Alex Carpenter, Kendall Coyne, Shiann Darkangelo, Brianna Decker, Meghan Duggan (C), Hilary Knight, Jocelyne Lamoureux, Annie Pankowski, Amanda Pelkey, Haley Skarupa, Kelli Stack, Dana Trivigno.
Goaltenders: Charline Labonté, Emerance Maschmeyer. Defence: Laura Fortino, Halli Krzyzaniak, Brigette Lacquette, Jocelyne Larocque, Meaghan Mikkelson (A), Lauriane Rougeau. Forwards: Meghan Agosta (A), Bailey Bram, Emily Clark, Sarah Davis, Brianne Jenner, Rebecca Johnston, Marie-Philip Poulin (C), Jillian Saulnier, Natalie Spooner, Blayre Turnbull, Jennifer Wakefield, Hayley Wickenheiser.