Jincy does it in OT

Dunne's power play winner gives USA 3-2 win & U18 gold


The United States women's U18 team is back on top of the hockey world. Photo: Francois Laplante / HHOF-IIHF Images

BUFFALO – Jincy Dunne's second goal of the game, a wrist shot to the top corner 51 seconds into overtime on the power play, gave the U.S. a 3-2 win over rivals Canada and its first U18 gold since 2011.

“Oh my gosh, it was the most incredible feeling in the world,” an elated Dunne said later, gold medal around her neck. “For me, three years, and we finally won the gold. I didn’t really get a chance to celebrate because I got attacked by my teammates. That’s when I knew it went in. But just to be able to share that experience with my team like that…my family was in the crowd. It was so amazing.”

The gold gives the Americans four in total—the same number as Canada—since the U18 started in 2008.

The game was played before a packed house at HarborCenter in downtown Buffalo, mostly American but certainly a nice Canadian contingent on hand as well. "Playing before such a large crowd was nerve-wrecking for sure," said Canada's player of the game, goalie Marlene Boissonault, "but to know there are family and friends at home supporting us was fantastic."

The Americans outshot Canada, 41-18, and were full measure for their win. Canada dominated the first 15 minutes or so, but after that it was all USA.

Despite their early superiority, Canada could muster only a 1-1 tie after 20 minutes. The visitors opened the scoring on a gaffe from an American defenceman, who simply didn’t see Shae Labbe lurking in the centre-ice area and threw a blind pass that the Canadian intercepted. Labbe went in alone and squeezed the puck past Kaitlin Burt for the early lead.

“They kind of took it to us in the first ten or fifteen minutes of the first period,” Burt conceded, “but we did a really good job of responding and not getting frustrated.”

And, when a team has a captain and marvelous skater like Dunne, a 1-0 lead is hardly safe. She made one nice rush early on and was thwarted, but in the last minute she was not to be stopped. Taking the puck from her own end down the right wing, the left-hand shot cut in on goal and roofed a superb backhand past a startled Boissonault at 19:27, sending the U.S. to the dressing room feeling as though it had won the period.

"Coach reminded us never get too high or too low," Dunne said. "It's a long game, and we felt better and better."

The second period was mirror opposite to the first. Despite being badly outplayed, it was Canada that was lucky to be in a 2-2 tie after 40 minutes. The Americans came out firing on all cylinders, grabbing a 2-1 lead at the 5:00 mark thanks to two excellent plays.

First, Alex Woken made a nice pass from the side boards to Alyssa Gorecki in front, and then Gorecki, despite being covered, managed to get a shot on goal. The puck fooled Boissonault, and the home team had it first lead of the night.

Canada tied it on a play Burt would surely like back. Samantha Cogan skated down the left wing looking for a man in front. Her pass went to no one, but instead of sliding into the corner boards the puck slid into the far side of the goal past a stunned Burt who was playing pass all the way.

The Americans suffered no relapse, however, and continued to pour on the pressure, but Canada managed to hang in there long enough to escape with a tie, 20 minutes left to decide the gold medal.

The third period saw Canada incur five penalties, but these were all the result of superior American play, notably speed and keeping the legs moving. Canada could not match the energy of the hosts, and while the penalty killers and Boissonault were sensational, it seemed only a matter of time before the U.S. finally connected on a power play.

After three periods of regulation, the game was still tied, but the U.S. started the 20-minute overtime with the extra man, now playing four-on-three on fresh ice.

"That's just the way it was," said Canadian forward Sarah Potomak of the penalties. "We killed every one. I give our penalty killers a lot of credit. I don't think they were better than us; they just had more power plays."

The Americans spent most of the first minute in the Canadian end, and when Dunne got the puck on the point, she moved in, took aim, and fired the golden goal.

“I just kind of walked it in and took a shot,” Dunne said. “I saw a small corner and tried to put it there. Anything can happen when you shoot."

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