ZURICH – The United States has won gold at the World Women's Championship after an overtime goal by Hilary Knight at 7:48 of the 4-on-4 extra period. The play came off a fortuitous scramble which left the loose puck inches from the line for Knight to push in.
"The puck came across the crease just behind the goal line and I put it into the net," a jubilant Knight said. "It’s a feeling that’s hard to describe when you score such a goal. It was a bit of a gift at the right time."
"Their player came in off the wing and took a shot. It went off somebody's skate right to the back post, and their player was standing there," Canada's goalie Shannon Szabados described of the gold-medal-winning play.
"Canada happened to win the last Olympics. We really flip-flop who’s number one in the world. Unfortunately, we didn’t win last year, that’s why it feels so good to win today," said American captain Angela Ruggiero.
Teams exchanged goals in the first period, one if not dominated then certainly controlled by the Americans. Hayley Wickenheiser found herself on a breakaway in the opening minute, but her low shot was stopped nicely by Jessie Vetter.
"We didn't capitalize on our breaks," said captain Wickenheiser. "We didn't take the puck to the middle of the ice and didn't pressure them enough. We had some defensive lapses, too, that cost us the game."
The U.S. got the opening goal on a great little two-on-one near the goal of Szabados. Monique Lamoureux-Kolls took a pass and immediately whipped it across the crease where her sister, Jocelyne Lamoureux, had only to redirect it in the open side.
Canada was unable to mount much in the way off offence, but with just eight seconds left in the period Gillian Apps took a quick wrist shot through traffic that beat Jessie Vetter over the shoulder to send the teams to the dressing room tied, 1-1.
The Canadians picked up the tempo in the second period and were much more effective on the forecheck, and as a result had the majority of possession and a marked territorial advantage.
But the only goal of the period came from captain Jenny Potter of the U.S. Deep along the left-wing boards, she came out front and backhanded a shot over the glove of Szabados at 12:05. It came during a 4-on-4 situation, and despite continuing to press, Canada couldn’t get the tying goal before the intermission.
In the third the Americans played stifling defence, and although Canada had the puck in the other half of the rink much of the time, it generated few good scoring chances.
The tying goal came off the rush with Canada on the power play. An American player was caught behind the Canadian red line creating a 5-on-3, and Rebecca Johnston jumped into the slot. She took a pass from Jennifer Wakefield and ripped the puck to the far corner at 16:04 to force overtime.
"Last year, it was really hard to lose the Olympic final, so we’re definitely going into the right direction," admitted Lamoureux-Kolls. "The biggest difference was “defence first”. We’ve had a lot of talk about that in the locker room. Today we worked hard and it paid off."
"It’s important to win here after the Olympics," agreed Lamoureux-Kolls. "It was a great show for women’s hockey and all the fans here."
"There were a lot of momentum changes," said Wickenheiser. "It went one way and then the other. Today, we didn't win. That's the bottom line."