ÖSTERSUND, Sweden – Following a three-goal third period, the U.S. Under-18 Women's National Team topped Sweden, 6-3, in its opening preliminary round game of the International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Women’s World Championship in here today.
“I thought we had a really strong start to the game,” Katie Lachapelle (Lewiston, Maine), head coach of the 2023 U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team said. “Sweden did a really good job pushing back and the pace of play was back-and-forth. They played physical, and we tried to play physical as well.”
Team USA opened the game with a strong offensive push. Less than a minute in, Cassie Hall (South Lyon, Mich.) had a point-blank shot from outside the crease that was swallowed by the Swedish netminder.
The U.S. opened the scoring on a power-play goal, 6:28 into the first frame. Maggie Scannell (Wynantskill, N.Y.) put a shot on net from the goal line that rebounded up the middle to Molly Jordan (Berlin, Conn.). Jordan then skated in from between the circles, sliding a low weak-sideshot that tipped off Ava Lindsay’s (Minnetonka, Minn.) stick past the Swedish goaltender to put Team USA up, 1-0.
With just under five minutes remaining in the first frame, Sweden equalized the game on a short-handed goal. Swedish forward Emma Rehn capitalized on a neutral-zone turnover, opening a breakaway down the left side, sliding a rising shot to the back of the net to knot the game at 1-1.
An early second-period penalty kill saw goaltender Annelies Bergmann (Detroit, Mich.) make multiple sliding saves to keep the game tied.
With 11:57 remaining in the second, Josie St. Martin (Stillwater, Minn.) dropped a pass to Samantha Taber (Tewksbury, Mass.). Taber carried the puck to the center of the ice, letting a rising shot rip up the middle, bouncing off the Sweden goalie’s mask, giving the U.S. a 2-1 lead.
Sweden tied the game at 2-2 with 5:13 in the second when Mira Hallen put a bouncing rebound into the net on a Swedish power-play opportunity.
Less than two minutes later, Peyton Compton (Sanford, Fla.) put the U.S. back on top, 3-2. After winning the puck battle along the boards on the left corner, Allie Lalonde (Irvine, Calif.) found a wide-open Compton at the left faceoff dot. Compton walked a shot in close trickling it five-hole for the score.
Lucia DiGirolamo (Woburn, Mass) extended the U.S. lead to 4-2 early in the final frame. After winning a battle along the boards, DiGirolamo banked a weak-side shot, from the goal line, off the Swedish goalie to give the U.S. a two-goal lead.
Scannell added another, off a point-blank shot, with under 10 minutes left in the game to give the U.S. a 5-2 lead, before Sweden answered with one of its own to cut the score to 5-3.
With under a minute remaining, Finley McCarthy (Whitefish, Mont.) recorded an empty-net goal to give the U.S. a final 6-3 victory.
Up next, Team USA faces Finland in its second preliminary-round game on Monday (Jan. 9). Puck drop is set for 10 a.m. ET
NOTES: Maggie Scannell (Wynantskill, N.Y.) was named the U.S. Player of the Game… The U.S. outshot Sweden, 43-32… Team USA was 3-for-6 on the power play and 7-for-8 on the penalty kill.