CALGARY, Canada - The United States won the inaugural IIHF World Women’s U18 Championship by beating hosts Canada 5-2 in the final game. The success of the Americans in the final was a slight surprise as the Canadians had won all three exhibition games against their final opponent but could not repeat it for the most important one in front of a sell-out crowd of 2,156 fans in Calgary’s Father David Bauer Arena.
The Americans got the better start in the game, jumping out to a 2-0 lead with goals from Meagan Mangene and Brooke Ammerman. The game was not as one-sided as the final score indicated with 28-27 shots in favour of Canada. But the Americans were more efficient with their scoring chance as Kendall Coyne’s and Brianna Decker’s goals made it a 4-0 lead before the midway mark.
Canada's Carolyne Prevost and Jessica Jones cut the lead in half, but the Americans defended their lead and Amanda Kessel scored the 5-2 at 52:16 to secure the win. Team USA goaltender Alyssa Grogan made 26 saves and led all goalies with a 92.98 save percentage and was awarded as the best goalie of the tournament. The Canadians Lauriane Rougeau (best defender) and Marie-Philip Poulin (best forward) earned the other awards. Poulin led the scoring (8 goals, 6 assists) and the plus-minus (+15) statistics. However, the party was on the American side as they won the first-ever Women’s U18 title.
The Czech Republic was the surprise bronze winner, thanks to a 4-2 win over Sweden. It is by far the biggest success the Czech womne's program, which has never qualified for the women’s senior top division. Alena Polenska and Lucie Manhartova scored two goals each to grab the third place.
In the other placement games, the wins of the group stage were repeated. Germany beat Finland 4-1 to grab fifth place, while Switzerland also earned a 4-1 win against Russia.