BUFFALO, New York – The U.S. Women’s National Under-18 Team defeated Canada, 2-1, in a thrilling shootout tonight in the first game for both teams at the 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Women’s World Championship.
Grace Bizal (Minnetonka, Minn./Hopkins High School) scored in regulation and Kaitlin Burt (Lynn, Mass./Boston College) made 16 saves. U.S. captain Jincy Dunne (O’Fallon, Mo./St. Louis Lady Blues 19U) and Abby Roque (Sault Ste. Marie, Mich./Sault Area High School) added shootout goals to seal the victory.
“We had a tremendous crowd tonight and we fed off the energy from the fans for a great start,” said Joel Johnson, head coach for the U.S. Women’s National Under-18 Team. “It’s a great win to build off of and we look forward to facing Czech Republic tomorrow.”
A sellout crowd greeted Team USA loudly at puck drop, and just 5:06 into the game, one second after Team USA’s first power play, Bizal collected a pass from Caitrin Lonergan (Roslindale, Mass./Assabet Valley) and beat Canada’s goaltender high on the glove side.
Both teams exchanged chances and the U.S. nearly made it 2-0 when Rebecca Gilmore’s (Wayland, Mass./Assabet Valley) slap shot from the right circle hit the crossbar with 6:41 left in the period.
After a scoreless second stanza, Canada evened the score with 10:59 left in the third when Sarah Potomak’s shot from the slot squeezed by Burt. The teams traded several chances the rest of the frame, but headed to a five-minute sudden death overtime tied 1-1.
After a scoreless overtime, the game went to a shootout. Burt stopped both Canadian shooters, and Dunne scored on the first Team USA attempt before Roque secured the win.
Team USA is back in preliminary action tomorrow (Jan. 6) against Czech Republic. Puck drop is 7 p.m. ET, and the game can be seen live on FastHockey.com.
Notes: Jincy Dunne was named the U.S. Player of the Game … Team USA outshot Canada 18-17 … The U.S. penalty kill was four-for-four tonight … The U.S. and Canada are in the same group for the first time in tournament history. Both countries have met in the previous seven gold medal games … For complete Team USA coverage visit www.usawomenshockey.com … Follow @USAHockeyScores for in-game updates. Join the U.S. Under-18 Women’s World Championship conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #U18WWC.