HEINOLA – Canada pulled out a heart-stopping 2-1 victory over the United States in the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship final, tying the game with 12 seconds left in the third period to set up Karly Heffernan’s game winner in overtime.
“Winning the gold medal…it just feels amazing,” said Hannah Bunton, who had the key assist on Canada’s game-winning goal. “We’ve worked so hard for it and put in so much effort in the last two weeks and it just feels amazing.”
The game very nearly ended in regulation in favour of the United States, but for a last-gasp goal from Canada’s Catherine Dubois, who tied the game with 12 seconds left to send it into overtime.
Then 58 seconds into the extra frame Hanna Bunton got the puck in the U.S. zone to the left of the net, stickhandled the puck towards goaltender Sidney Peters and at the last moment sent a backhand pass to an open Heffernan in the slot for the overtime winner and Canada’s second consecutive gold medal.
“I remember being in the slot open and calling for the puck,” said Heffernan. “She passed it perfectly right on the tape and I took the shot far side and it went in...though I don’t really remember that part I sort of blacked out [laughs].”
The game began in typical high-paced fashion for the two top teams in U18 women’s hockey. The Canadians were able to weather the initial heavy pressure from Team USA, thanks in large part to the play of goaltender Kimberly Newell who stopped 19 of 20 shots, including a fantastic paddle save to deny the Americans an easy goal midway through the period.
“It’s all about preparation,” said Newell. “I felt like I really prepared well for this game and despite the number of shots we were able to push back and get stronger later in the game.”
But penalties caught up to the Canadians in the frame, and with just under two minutes to go Jennifer Ryan fired a low shot from the point that slipped through the legs of Newell for the game’s first goal coming off a power play.
“It was an exciting game, we knew it was going to be a battle,” said Team Canada head coach Jim Fetter. “The first period we were on our heels but our goaltender played well and gave us an opportunity to stay in the game. After that we just kept rolling and the momentum eventually swung our way.”
Canada’s offence managed get some more balance to the shot count in the second period, outshooting the Americans but failing to get any pucks past goaltender Sidney Peters.
Down 1-0 going into the third period, the United States defence was able to keep Canada bottled up for most of the period, and Peters answered the call with a pair of point blank stops on one-timer opportunities from the Canadians.
But with 24 seconds remaining and Newell sitting on the bench for the extra attacker, Canada won a faceoff in the U.S. zone and, after a shot was initially stopped by Peters, got another off that created a scramble in front of the net. Peters was unable to locate the puck, which squirted out to the left of the net and directly onto the stick blade of Catherine Dubois. Dubois fired it home with only 12 seconds left in the game to send it to overtime.
"In that case I just didn't think about it and shot," said Dubois after the game.
Dubois’ goal ended the United States’ new shutout record for a U18 women’s world championship. The USA went 299 minutes without allowing a goal in the tournament.
With the victory, Canada claims its third gold medal to bring it even with the U.S. in the six-year head-to-head history between the two teams at the U18 Women’s World Championship. Following the game, the Directorate Awards named Team USA’s Katherine Schipper Best Forward and MVP, Canada’s Halli Krzyzaniak Best Defenceman, and Swedish goaltender Minatsu Murase Best Goaltender.
As for Canada, the heart attack kids get to leave Finland with gold around their necks.
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