Carpenter nails down gold
U.S. wins OT thriller in latest chapter of intense rivalry with Canada
Team Canada and the United States can’t get together in women’s hockey and play an ordinary game. It’s simply not possible.
Every time they meet, to steal a line earlier this week from American coach Ken Klee, it’s like Stanley Cup Final, Game 7, and on Monday at Sandman Centre in the IIHF world championship finale it was like they threw the intensity of overtime throughout for good measure.
The sellout crowd of 5,850 would have stampeded if you set up a table in the concourse to sell shares in a pro women’s team at the end of the night.
The Americans won this latest chapter in the rivalry in extra time, taking a 1-0 decision on Alex Carpenter’s tally at 12:30 of overtime. Carpenter jumped on a loose puck behind Emerance Maschmeyer after a point shot from Megan Bozek seemed to hit the post and sit in the crease. Canada had just killed off a holding penalty to Halli Krzyzaniak. It was the Americans’ third straight world championship gold medal and their sixth in seven years.
There have been since 17 world championship tournaments since the inaugural event in 1990. Canada and the U.S. have met in the final of every one. They are also the only teams to have won gold at the five Olympics where women’s hockey has been contested; the Canadians have won the past four such tournaments, beating the Americans in the final three times, including 3-2 in overtime at the 2014 Sochi Games.
Alex Rigsby made 32 saves in the American net. Maschmeyer turned away 33 shots for Canada.
The Canadians had a power play to start the extra session, thanks to Monique Lamoureux being whistled for hooking Natalie Spooner in front of the American net at 19:52 of the third period, but couldn’t capitalize.
Spooner drew a hooking penalty during the extra session at 7:41, but Canada’s power play failed to score there.
The “Go Canada, Go,” chants began on the game’s opening shift, and there wasn’t a whistle for the first five full minutes of game action. And things went from there.
Canada was decidedly more polished and precise with their passing than they were Sunday in their 5-3 semifinal victory over Finland. Their puck support seemed dramatically improved. They did their best, too, to bottle up the Americans’ slick, puck-moving rearguard corps.
They outshot the U.S. 9-5 in the opening frame, and had the best chances, highlighted by Rigsby standing her ground on a drive to the net by Canadian forward Jillian Saulnier at 8:16. Saulnier plays with a frenzied fearlessness. She was all motion and emotion throughout the week. She has a chance to be a major fan favourite.
Rigsby, who got the start ahead of two-time Olympian Jessie Vetter, was sharp in the American goal in the second period, too.
She was alert on a Spooner redirect at 0:37, and then shot out her right pad to thwart Laura Fortino after Canadian teammate Meghan Agosta had set her up sneaking into the slot from the left point at 6:12.
Maschmeyer wasn’t to be outdone in the Canadian crease. She foiled Carpenter on a short-handed breakaway at 11:02 of the second, taking away the five-hole.
Maschmeyer stoned Kacey Bellamy with the right pad on a rocket from the right faceoff circle on an American power play at the 6:40 mark of the third period.
The Americans beat the Canadians 3-1 in preliminary round action on the opening night of the tournament on March 28. Maschmeyer made 35 saves that night.
The U.S. beat the Canadians 7-5 in last year’s world’s gold-medal game in Malmo, Sweden. Russia beat Finland 1-0 in a shootout for the bronze medal earlier in the day. Sweden got by the Czech Republic by a 4-2 count for fifth spot.