Still golden
by Erin Brown|15 JAN 2023
The Canadian players celebrate after winning the gold medal game.
photo: Andrea Cardin / IIHF
The Swedes came dressed to impressed. Canada's Caitlin Kraemer turned heads.

Kraemer and set a pair of records and lifted Canada to its second-consecutive gold medal with a 10-0 win over host Sweden at the 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship.

The centre scored the fastest hat trick at this event in the first four-goal performance in a gold medal game. Kraemer also set a Canadian record for most goals in a single U18 tournament.

As a team, the Canadians set new IIHF records for the greatest goal difference and most goals scored in a final.

“It was a big part of our plan just hit off running,” Kraemer said. “I think we overwhelmed them. We did our job.”

Kraemer gave Canada a 2-0 lead in a span of 35 seconds just under six minutes into the opening period. She completed the hat trick at the 12-minute mark. Her three goals in 6:44 eclipses the previous U18 record by seven seconds, previously set by the United States' Kendall Coyne in 2010.

The performance also gave her a total of 10 for the tournament, which bested the Canadian record held by Marie-Philip Poulin who recorded eight in 2008.

"It's pretty incredible," Kramer said. "You grow up looking up to those big names. I wouldn't have been able to do it without this team behind me."

Kraemer led the tournament in goals and finished the tournament with 11 points, second only to Slovakia's Nela Lopusanova, who had 12 (nine goals, three assists).
Canada vs Sweden (Final) - 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women's World Championship
CAN SWE 15 JAN 2023
Wearing their home yellow jerseys before a sold-out crowd of 2,700 here in Ostersund, the Swedes simply couldn't keep up with the Canadians' speed and machine-like output. Sweden had just one shot on net by the time Canada held a 5-0 lead.

Even when they put together a short burst of sustained play — two shots — early in the second period, a broken play at the blue line led to Alexia Aubin's second goal of the game at 3:34. Just 77 seconds later, Abby Lunney made it 7-0.

Kraemer opened the scoring at 5:16 when she skated into the slot deked around Swedish defender 15 and slid the puck between Franks’ pads.

Moments later, she chased down a pass from Ava Murphy off the boards and fired another wrist shot five-hole from the right circle.

The center added her third by carrying the puck into the zone and unleashing a shot from the right circle which flew past Frank’s glove to give the Canadians a 5-0 lead.

Kraemer added a fourth which gave Canada the all-time mark for most goals in a gold medal game 9:17 into the third period.

Up 2-0, Canada delivered another quick burst of goals midway through the first period. Aubin tipped a shot by Murphy between Franks’ pads at 9:14 of the first and 47 seconds later, Piper Grober’s shot from the left circle flew past Franks' glove.

"It was a tough start," Sweden coach Andreas Karlsson said. "We had nothing from the first period."

It only got uglier.

When Canada's Shelby Laidlaw got aggressive trying to poke in a puck covered by Frank, the Swedes tried to clear her out. That led to a scuffle and Emma Rehn on the ice. Both player went off for roughing penalties.

That's when Kraemer took advantage of open ice from the 4-on-4 and scored her third.

The tally ended Frank’s night. She finished with just four saves on nine shots in 12 minutes of play. Ida Hendrikson came on in relief.

Charlotte Pieckenhagen and Mackenzie Alexander also scored for Canada.

While the Canadians did not accomplish a perfect gold, they went undefeated in five games. They never trailed by more than a goal in any game and were only behind for only a total of 19:12 in the entire tournament.

The victory gives the Canadians their seventh gold medal at this event, one shy of the United States' all-time record.

Heading into the contest, Sweden faced long odds for an upset. Historically, the Swedes have never defeated Canada at any level in the women's game. In the U18 tournament, they are now 0-11 and have been outscored 65-9. Across all three women's competitions, Sweden is 0-27 and have been outscored 194-21.

Still, it's the second silver-medal finish for the Swedes at this event. Canada and the United States are the only other countries to finish in the top two of the tournament's 15-year history.

"I'm very proud of our team," Karlsson said. "We do everything together on the ice every day, every game. We do it together."
Canada vs Sweden (Final) - 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women's World Championship