Americans roll into gold medal game
by Andrew Podnieks|03 SEP 2022
Team USA’s Hilary Knight scores a first-period goal against Czech goalkeeper Klara Peslarova.
photo: Matt Zambonin / HHOF-IIHF Images
Team USA scored six goals in the first period to put the game out of reach with speed and seeming ease, defeating Czechia by a 10-1 count and advancing to the gold medal game tomorrow night. They will face the winner of tonight’s Canada-Switzerland tilt.

The previously unbeaten Czechs will play tonight’s loser for the bronze medal tomorrow afternoon.

The Americans were led by a hat trick and assist from Amanda Kessel, a five-point game from Taylor Heise, and two more goals from Hilary Knight. Heise now leads the tournament with 18 points, the second-most ever for one Women’s Worlds (behind U.S. forward Cindy Curley, who had 23 in 1990). Heise also leads all skaters with seven goals and now has eleven assists, one off that tournament record held by Curley as well.

In addition, the U.S. have now scored 52 goals, the most of any American team and second only to Canada's 61 in 1990. If it's any consolation for the Czechs, they limited the U.S. to 39 shots, second fewest after the 33 against Canada.

"We're doing the little things right," said Heise of the team's scoring. "I think sometimes you can get away from that. We're trying to create space in tight and we have such skilled players it's easy to make those plays. And then we have players who can put the puck in the back of the net, like "Tess" today who went bar down from in tight. Those plays don't happen all the time, but we're making those good habits, and then things go our way."

"I walked into the dressing room now, and I was just as proud of them as when we beat Finland," said Czechia coach Carla MacLeod. "The U.S. is a great hockey team. We knew that. It wasn't an ideal start for us, but we didn't break, and I thought we played really well in the second and third. We stayed supporting one another. Lots to build off for tomorrow."
United States vs Czechia (SF) - 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship
USA CZE 03 SEP 2022
Although Czechia kept pace for a few minutes, a goal at 7:53 of the first by Heise started a rampage for the rest of the period that left the Czechs dizzy. Hayley Scamurra made it 2-0 two minutes later, and Kessel buried a breakaway opportunity to make it 3-0. Then came two goals from Hilary Knight, the record 52nd and 53rd of her career which also represented the record 88th and 89th points of her career as well. 

The first came off a nice tip of a Hannah Bilka shot, and the second came off a feed in front by Bilka, the newcomer who is having the time of her life playing alongside one of her childhood idols.

Jesse Compher made it 6-0 at 19:25, beating the talented but beleaguered Klara Peslarova over the glove.

The Americans took their foot off the gas in the second but still managed two more goals. Kessel got her second of the game at 6:56 just as a Czechia penalty expired, and five minutes later the Czechs finally pushed one past Nicole Hensley. It wasn’t the prettiest goal you’ll ever see, but they all count, and when Klara Hymlarova jammed the puck over the goal line with Hensley down, her bench erupted in celebration.

But even that brief moment of glory was snuffed out just 14 seconds later when Kessel completed her hat trick, snapping a shot past Blanka Skodova, who had replaced Peslarova to start the period.

Defender Caroline Harvey contributed to the final tally with a high wrister at 10:36 of the third, converting a nice pass from Scamurra behind the net. Soon after, Kessel dished off to Heise for the tenth goal of the romp.

All in all, it was another one-sided win for the U.S. who, as expected, will play for gold tomorrow. Will Canada also do the expected and win to set up another North American final, or can the Swiss pull off a stunner? 
United States vs Czechia (SF) - 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship