MALMO, Sweden—The U.S. Women’s National Team claimed their fifth International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship in six years with a 7-5 victory over rival Canada today. Team USA led 4-1 going into the second period but Canada made a comeback in the second, tying the game at five. In a hard-fought final frame, Team USA prevailed, notching two goals for the win.
“I'm really proud of our team, they battled hard through some adversity and competed until the very end,” said Ken Klee, head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Team. "It was an exciting game for the fans and extremely fun to be apart of.
The U.S. struck under three minutes into the first period when Annie Pankowski (Laguna Hills, Calif.) went to the net and wrangled the rebound from a Stephanie Anderson (North St. Paul, Minn.) shot, wristing the puck past Canada’s Ann-Renee Desbiens for the 1-0 lead. While on the power play 3:47 later, Monique Lamoureux (Grand Forks, N.D.) fed Hilary Knight (Sun Valley, Idaho), waiting in the slot, for a one-timer and the 2-0 lead. Again on the power play, Team USA cashed in when Megan Keller (Farmington, Mich.) knocked in a rebound. Canada finally got on the board, scoring on the power play just eight seconds into the advantage, making it 3-1.
Anne Schleper (St. Cloud, Minn.) put the U.S. back up by three, when her shot from the top of the circle found its way past Desbiens at 17:08 of the period. Less than a minute later, Canada’s Marie-Philip Poulin intercepted a pass on the U.S. blue line and wristed a shot past Jessie Vetter (Cottage Grove, Wis.), cutting the U.S. lead back to two goals with just 2:13 left in the stanza.
In the second period, shortly after the power-play expiration, Hannah Brandt (Vadnais Heights, Minn.) came out of the corner with the puck and passed it to an awaiting Haley Skarupa (Rockville, Md.) all alone in front of the Canadian net. She beat Canada’s replacement goaltender Genevieve Lacasse to make it 5-2 at 7:33. Beginning at 10:03 of the period, Canada scored three goals in just 2:03 to tie the game at five. Following Canada’s second goal at 31:41, U.S. goaltender Alex Rigsby (Delafield, Wis.) relieved Vetter.
In the third frame, after a clean defensive-zone faceoff win, Kendall Coyne (Palos Heights, Ill.) made the breakout feed to Knight along the left-side boards. Knight carried the puck into the offensive zone and saucered a cross-slot pass to Brianne Decker (Dousman, Wis.) for the tie-breaking goal at 11:42. With 6:42 to go in the frame, Coyne capitalized on the power play for the seventh U.S. goal and the 7-5 final score.
Team USA was three-for-five on the power play and outshot Canada 36-27. Vetter started the game for the U.S. but was relieved by Rigsby at 31:41. Vetter had nine saves and Rigsby stopped 13 of 14 shots she faced in the final 28:19 of the game.
Notes: The U.S has won five (2015, 2013, 2011, 2009-08) world titles in the past six years. Overall, the U.S. has six world championships (2015, 2013, 2011, 2009-08, 2005) while Canada has ten—both teams have meet in all 16 gold-medal games of the Women’s World Championship … With 12 goals, this game is the highest scoring gold-medal game in Women’s World Championship history … Hilary Knight was named the tournament’s most valuable player and received the Directorate Award for Best Forward … Brianne Decker, Knight and Kacey Bellamy each earned top player of the tournament honors for Team USA. Forwards Decker and Knight and defenseman Monique Lamoureux were each named to the tournament all-star team … Knight (7-5—12), Decker (5-6—11) and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson (5-3—8) were the top three in tournament scoring. Knight also led the tournament in goals with seven, while Anne Schleper (6), Decker (6) and Lamoureux (6) were the top three assist-getters. Schleper (1-6—7), Lamoureux (1-6—7) and Megan Keller (2-3—5) were the top three, respectively, among defensemen in tournament scoring … Kendall Coyne (+8), Decker (+8), Knight (+8) and Lamoureux (+7) were the tournaments top four plus/minus leaders.