LATE GOALS LEAVE CANADA WITH SILVER AT U18 WOMEN’S WORLDS
JASON LA ROSE
ZLIN, Czech Republic – Daryl Watts (Toronto, Ont./Mississauga, PWHL) tied the game with 6:17 to go, but two goals in the final three minutes meant Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team settled for silver after a 3-1 loss to the United States in the gold medal game Saturday at the 2017 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship.
It’s the third year in a row Canada has finished as runner-up at U18 women’s worlds.
With overtime looming (it would have been the third-consecutive year the gold medal game reached an extra period), Grace Zumwinkle knocked a rebound past Canadian goaltender Danika Ranger (Uxbridge, Ont./Durham West, PWHL) for the game-winner with 2:32 left.
Ranger and American counterpart Alex Gulstene kept the game scoreless through the first period, although Gulstene was the much busier puck-stopper; Canada outshot the U.S. 12-3 in the opening 20 minutes.
The Americans struck first on the power play just shy of the six-minute mark of the second when Delaney Drake took a pass at the side of the net and swept a shot from a sharp angle past Ranger.
The goal ended Ranger’s shutout streak against the United States at just over 87 minutes; she blanked the Americans in a 1-0 overtime victory in the preliminary round on Tuesday.
Canada kept the pressure on Gulstene and the U.S. defence and thought it had pulled even five minutes into the third period, but the goal was waved off because of goaltender interference.
Watts finally tied the game at 12:43, taking a pass in the slot from Emma Maltais (Burlington, Ont./Oakville, PWHL) and wiring a wrist shot past Gulstene with just one second left in a Canadian man advantage.
After the Zumwinkle winner gave the Americans back the lead, Canada went to the power play for the final two minutes and had a six-on-four with Ranger on the bench, but couldn’t find the tying goal.
Emily Oden finished the scoring into an empty net with just five seconds to go.
Canadian forward Sophie Shirley (Saskatoon, Sask./Okanagan Hockey Academy, CSSHL) was one of four players to co-lead the tournament in scoring with six points (two goals, four assists), and was named Top Forward by the IIHF directorate.