Canada beats Czechs, will play U.S. for gold
by Andrew Podnieks|14 APR 2024
photo: Matt Zambonin/IIHF
Canada came out strong, stayed focused, and took care of business tonight in Utica, beating Czechia 4-0 and advancing to their 22nd gold-medal game in 23 Women’s Worlds events. Of course, they will meet the Americans in that final game tomorrow, the team they have beaten 12 out of 21 previous meetings for the gold.

Czechia will play Finland earlier in the day and will be searching for their unprecedented third straight bronze medal.

"It's always a tough game against Canada, but I think we played hard and have to get ready for tomorrow," said Czech captain Aneta Tejralova. "That's an important game for us and for our program."

With the win tonight Canada's coach Troy Ryan ties Ben Smith (USA) for the most wins all time in Women's Worlds play at 24. 

Canada outshot the Czechs, 47-9, and were superior from start to finish. Only the fine goaltending of Klara Peslarova kept the score close.

"Our focus was to have a fast start with heavy forecheck, and I think we did a good job of that," said Blayre Turnbull, one of Canada's goalscorers.

The Canadians had three golden opportunities in the first period and converted on two, but all three had one thing in common—a player without the puck going hard to the net.

In the first instance, Laura Stacey skated down the wing and spotted Turnbull going to the blue ice. Her pass was perfect, and Turnbull converted at 4:32 to give Canada the early lead.

"We've been talking about transitions and every time we get a turnover we want to move it up ice quickly and Joc[elyne Larocque] did a good job getting it to Stacey. She has so much speed that she drew players to her, and I was pretty open in the middle. It was a great pass."

Moments later, Jamie Lee Rattray tried a similar play with Renata Fast, but Peslarova made a great save to keep it a 1-0 game.

Near the end of the period, however, Canada doubled its lead off the rush again. This time Stacey found another defender going hard to the blue ice, and Larocque got her stick on the puck to re-direct it in at 18:15.

Canada made it 3-0 early in the second when Emily Clark got a stick on her own rebound from in close at 1:39. The rest of the period was played largely in the Czechia end as Canada controlled play and gave their opponents no room coming out of their own end.

Canada upped the count to 4-0 early in the third on another play to the net. This time it was Renata Fast getting the puck to Sarah Fillier on the doorstep, and her tip squeaked in over the goal line at 4:40. It was Fillier's second goal of the tournament, the first an empty netter.

The Czechs then had their best chance, but Denisa Krisova's shot was stopped by Ann-Renee Desbiens. Moments later, Emma Maltais had a breakaway but Peslarova stoned her. In the end, Canada proved too tough in all areas of the ice, and the stage is now set for another chapter in hockey's greatest international rivalry.