Canada wins gold!
Despite being outshot 28-16, Canada got brilliant goaltending from Emerance Maschmeyer and beat their arch-rivals, the United States, 3-0 in the tournament final. Offensively, they got a goal and an assist from Alexis Crossley and Sarah Lefort. The two teams have met in all five tournament finals, this being the second win for Canada.
Referees: Ugajinová (JPN) - Inoueová (JPN), Majapurová (FIN). Attendance: 950.
Right from the drop of the puck, it was clear that the Americans were intent to play aggressively and get the first goal, but the Canadians established a strong team defensive game.And so when Alexis Crossley pounced on a rebound in front of Brianna Laing to give Canada a 1-0 lead, it gave the Canadian team a huge amount of confidence. Right after that, the Americans had a chance to equalise when Kristyn Capizzano was sent off for slashing. The Americans got some perimeter shots, but the Canadian penalty killers did a good job of preventing the power play from establishing position in front of the net, setting a precedent that would last the whole game. When the Canadians got a power play of their own a couple of minutes later, it took the Canadians just 26 seconds to cash in, when Sarah Lefort´s shot from in front rang off the back crossbar and came back out quickly.
Before the end of the first period, the Americans did have a golden chance to cut the lead in half, when an errant pass in the Canadian zone landed on the stick of the dangerous Haley Skarupa, who had 11 goals in the first four games. However, for the first of many times during the game, goaltender Everance Maschmeyer came up big, stopping the first shot and the rebound, and sending Canada into the dressing room with a 2-0 lead.
Early in the second period, Canada weathered a couple more US power plays and then the overflow crowd at PSG Arena was treated to some end to end action for a while that was greatly entertaining. After serving a bench minor for too many players on the ice, Canadian Laura Stacey stepped out of the penalty box and took a breakaway pass, but was denied by Laing the chance to put her team up 3-0. The play went the other way, where a wild scramble took place in front of the Canadian goal, but the puck somehow stayed out. In the last minute of the period, there was another scramble in front of the Canadian net and some American sticks went in the air. The officials conferred but no goal was allowed.
“It was definitely not in,” Mascheyer said confidently after the game. “I could see it sitting there a few inches in front of the line and then it got swept away.”
In the third period, the Americans came out gunning just as they did in the first, knowing that an early goal would give them lots of time left to get the equaliser. However, the Canadian defence, and especially Maschmeyer, kept the attack at bay. As the period progressed, the Americans became more urgent in their efforts. Molly Illakainen attempted a wraparound that Mascheyer denied. Half a minute later, Samantha Laschomb released a shot from the top of the circle that was labelled for the top corner, but Maschmayer got her blocker on it and deflected it away, which got some reaction from the crowd.
The Canadians then had to kill off a pair of penalties. First Catherine Dubois was sent off for slashing, then just after the kill, Halli Krzyzaniak hammered an American player in the corner and was given a boarding penalty. The Americans tried valiantly on these opportunities, but the Canadian penalty killers were equally tenacious. The American shots where either from long range or from tight angles, and they just could not find the net.
After the two kills, the Canadians went to the power play when Paige Savage took a slashing penalty in the attacking zone with only 4:48 on the clock. The situation now looked grim for the Americans, and it went from grim to impossible in 40 seconds, when Cyndey Roesler´s shot from the point found the back of the net. The shot appeared to change direction on the way, but Roesler was credited with the goal.
After that, the Americans never threatened offensively again, but they did make their frustration apparent by taking a couple of undisciplined penalties in the last two minutes, which only emphasised the final result.
When they had a final faceoff in the US zone with 3.4 seconds on the clock, the Canadians on the bench and on the ice were already celebrating. When the time ran down, it touched off an on-ice celebration that lasted for the better part of an hour, through the official post-game ceremony.
Pierre Alain (couch of Canada): „We weren´t really nervous. We´ve been through that before, we knew what to have to do. The plan was made to be that way. We knew we had to play well in the defensive zone, and we practiced the defensive zone all week for this moment. So we were ready for it.“
Heather Linstad (headcoach of Team USA): „It´s is a disappointment. We worked hard, I liked the chemistry in our team but unfortunately we didn´t take our chances. Canada played very well in defense. It´s been a privilege and honour to coach this team.“
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Best defenseman of the tournament: Erin Ambrose (Canada)
Best ofenseman of the tournament: Alex Carpenter (USA)