Round 6 for Canada-USA

WW18: Old foes to face off for gold in Finland

04.01.2013
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Team USA has yet to surrended a goal in the 2013 IIHF U18 Women's World Championship. Photo: Jana Chytilova / HHOF-IIHF Images

United States – Czech Republic 10-0 (4-0, 3-0, 3-0) HEINOLA – The United States has torn through the preliminary round and the playoffs, outscoring the opposition 35-0, including a win over the Czechs in the semi-final, to set up a sixth rematch with Canada in the IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship.

The States are putting on arguably their best performance at an IIHF Under-18 Women's World Championship, and appear primed to win back the gold after losing in the 2012 final 3-0 to the Canadians.

“The best thing that we’ve been doing in this tournament is play as a team,” said U.S. captain Danielle Cameranesi. “We’re getting the puck moving and there haven’t been any selfish plays. We play together and we’re a very close knit team and that has helped us the whole tournament."

The Czechs got off to a good start in the game, thanks in large part to the efforts of goaltender Klara Peslarova who weathered the initial pressure and limited second chance opportunities for the Americans. But her defence was unable to keep the U.S. from swarming the net, and 12 minutes into the frame the States’ Grace Zarzecki chipped in a rebound after Peslarova lost the handle on a shot from Danielle Cameranesi.

“The first ten minutes we weren’t at our best and the Czechs did a good job clogging things up the middle, but after that things began to click and we were able to move the puck well through the neutral zone,” said Team USA head coach Jeff Kampersal. Less than a minute later Megan Wolfe followed up her teammate’s goal with her fourth of the tournament, scoring five-hole on Peslarova following a rush led by Katherine Schipper. Two minutes after that Baylee Wellhausen scored off yet another rebound, coming off the power play, and Kelly Pannek added another with ten seconds remaining to give Team USA a 4-0 cushion heading into the first intermission. Schipper added another power play goal for the U.S. in the second period, forcing a goaltender change from Peslarova to Barbora Dvorakova. The change did little to stop the Americans, who scored two more in the frame: a highlight reel goal from Amy Menke and a goal from Cara Piazza to make it 7-0. Schipper, Jincy Dunne, and Maliya Rodgers added one goal each to close out the victory.

The Czech Republic returns to the bronze medal game for the first time since 2011, and will hope to claim its first medal in the tournament since the inaugural U18 Women’s World Championship in 2008. The United States will face its old nemesis Canada in the gold medal game. The Americans have won three out of the five tournaments, but was shut out 3-0 by the Canadians in last year’s final. This year, it has been the States that have been perfect defensively, having yet to surrender a goal in the tournament and becoming the first team to shutout the opposition in all three preliminary round games. “We have been able to be explosive on offence, but tomorrow against Canada will be a different story,” said Kampersal. “Both teams haven’t spent much time in the defensive zone and it will come down to that. They’re aggressive and like to grind it out, we just need to match their intensity with our speed and forecheck.”

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Canada – Sweden 7-2 (2-0, 2-1, 3-1) HEINOLA – Defending champions Canada are back in the gold medal game, overcoming a tough Swedish squad to win 7-2 at the 2013 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship semi-final.

Though the scoreboard ended up well in favour of the Canadians, Sweden managed to keep the game close through two periods. “I thought we were just ok today,” said head coach Jim Fetter. “Luckily we weathered the storm and found a way to win, our goaltender had to come up with a few big saves at key moments to give us an opportunity but we’ll need more players to come up and play tomorrow.” Canada enjoyed the lion’s share of the puck possession in the first period, outshooting the Swedes 20-6. Kristin Gilmour had the team’s first goal, scoring on the power play off a wrist shot from the middle of the right circle. Ashleigh Brykaliuk followed up Gilmour with the 2-0 score at 11:45, when she cut in front of the Sweden net and fired it home with a backhand after her first attempt was stopped by goaltender Minatsu Murase. Sweden closed the gap to a goal early in the second when a point shot from Julia Lennartsson on the power play was stopped by Kimberly Newell. Newell wasn’t able to corral the rebound however, and Maja Jakobsson scored to make it 2-1. “We’ve been getting better in our game and been improving our play regardless of who we faced,” said team captain Kristyn Capizzano. “Though we got a bit complacent at the outset of the second and you can’t do that against a team like Sweden.” Although the Swedish offence got a spark from the goal and had a pair of quality scoring chances on Newell soon after, Canadian forward Genevieve Baton put her team back up by two near the midway point of the period, firing the puck in following a scramble in front of Murase’s net. Then Lennartsson was sent to the box on a tripping call, and again it was Brykaliuk scoring off a loose puck at the side of the net, giving Canada a commanding 4-1 lead. Sweden was unable to come out as strong following the second intermission, and Kristyn Capizzano, Catherine Dubois, Veronica Hummelgard, and Ashleigh Brykaliuk added to the scoreboard in the third period, putting the game out of reach for Sweden and putting Canada back in the final. With the result, two of last year’s medallists will get a chance to defend their medals. Canada will face the USA in yet another gold medal rematch, while Sweden will have a chance at a second consecutive bronze medal, playing against the Czech Republic Saturday in Heinola.

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Finland – Hungary 3-1 (0-0, 2-1, 1-0)
VIERUMÄKI – 2013 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship host Finland defeated Hungary 3-1 to finish in fifth place at the tournament. Jenna Suokko scored the game winner and goaltender Kiira Laine made made 29 of 30 saves to earn the Best Player award for Finland. Following a scoreless first period Emma Nuutinen and Suokko broke the deadlock with goals early in the second. Hungary’s Alexandra Huszak, Hungary’s top scorer, responded with a goal eleven seconds later to cut the lead to 2-1.

But the Hungarians were unable to get another puck past Laine, and Sanni Hakala added the insurance goal with just under five minutes remaining in the game to seal the victory. Despite finishing in sixth place, Hungary had a successful tournament for a team that last year was playing in the Division I qualification tournament. The team had its first ever victory for the country in a women’s top division IIHF tournament, coming against Germany, and will compete once again at the top level next year. Click here for scores and stats Germany – Russia 3-4 (1-1, 1-2, 1-0, 0-1) VIERUMÄKI – Russia has survived to play another year in the top division of the IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship, sending Germany to Division I with a 3-2 victory in the second game of the best-of-three relegation round. Despite being outshot 46-18, the Germans managed to come back and force overtime in the last 58 seconds of the third period. Marie-Kristin Schmid scored the tying goal to force the extra frame, where at 4:28 Yelena Dergachyova scored on the power play after Germany’s top forward Kerstin Spielberger was sent to the box for a cross-checking call. Russia’s victory ensures that it will stay in the top division next year. Germany will be relegated to Division I.

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ADAM STEISS
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