Team USA easily dispatched a hapless Swedish squad to clinch first place and a spot in the Four Nations Cup Gold Medal Game, cruising to a 5-0 victory to retain the International Hockey Lineal Championship.
Surprisingly, despite outshooting the Damkronorna 12-4 in the first period, and having four power plays, the Americans ended the period with just a 1-0 lead, thanks to the sharp goaltending of Sara Grahn. Grahn, however, could not withstand the firepower of Team USA forever, as Kacey Bellamy opened the scoring on a Hilary Knight rebound, after a tremendous stop by Grahn, burying a harmless-looking backhander five-hole for the lead.
Kendall Coyne struck with a pair of goals early in the second to jump to a 3-0 lead, first tapping in a Cayla Barnes feed while parked in front of Grahn, followed by a laser of a shot off a sloppy Swedish turnover deep in their own zone. Hannah Brandt would wire a wrister of her own past a defenseless Grahn midway through the frame to take a 4-0 lead into second intermission. Gigi Marvin would add the fifth and final goal on a wraparound from behind the Swedish goal, putting the final score at much lower than expected, considering the Americans outshot Sweden 32-5 in the final 40 minutes, and holding Sweden shotless in the third period.
With the win, the Americans retain their 31st and current International Hockey Lineal Championship, which they won two days earlier from Canada in Wesley Chapel. This marks the 16th IHLC tilt between the U.S. and Sweden (which the U.S. leads 15-1), and marks their first meeting since last year’s Four Nations Cup in Finland, a 6-0 American victory to open the tournament. Team USA will now roll into the Gold Medal Game against Canada with bragging rights, momentum for the 2018 Olympics, and the IHLC all on the line.
03:54 – PEN – Carlsson, high sticking
04:23 – PP GOAL – Bellamy (Knight)
07:02 – PEN – Coyne, slashing
08:49 – PEN – Fällman, holding
11:32 – PEN – Pelkey, high sticking
14:26 – PEN – Lundberg
17:52 – PEN – Svedin, cross checking
21:35 – GOAL – Coyne (Barnes)
24:56 – GOAL – Coyne (Pannek, Brandt)
27:36 – PEN – Winberg, body checking
29:51 – GOAL – Brandt (Pfalzer, Keller)
32:58 – PEN – Svedin, holding
35:56 – PEN – Barnes, tripping
41:27 – PEN – Lundberg, body checking
44:03 – GOAL – Marvin (Keller)
45:36 – PEN – Borgqvist, holding
58:25 – PEN – Küller, tripping
W: Hensley (9-9)
L: Grahn (39-44)
SHOTS ON GOAL
12+14+18 = 44
4+5+0 = 9
Goaltenders: Nicole Hensley, Maddie Rooney. Defence: Cayla Barnes, Kacey Bellamy (A), Megan Bozek, Kali Flanagan, Megan Keller, Gigi Marvin, Emily Pfalzer, Lee Stecklein. Forwards: Hannah Brandt, Dani Cameranesi, Alex Carpenter, Kendall Coyne, Brianna Decker, Meghan Duggan (C), Amanda Kessel, Hilary Knight, Annie Pankowski, Kelly Pannek, Amanda Pelkey.
Goaltenders: Sara Grahn, Minatsu Murase. Defence: Emmy Alasalmi, Johanna Fällman, Elin Lundberg, Johanna Olofsson, Emilia Ramboldt (C), Annie Svedin. Forwards: Anna Borgqvist (A), Olivia Carlsson, Erika Grahm, Sara Hjalmarsson, Lisa Johansson, Sabina Küller, Maria Lindh, Emma Nordin, Hanna Olsson, Fanny Rask, Rebecca Stenberg, Erika Udén Johansson, Pernilla Winberg (A).