CANADA FALLS IN OT IN U18 OPENER
JASON LA ROSE
CALGARY, Alta. – Alexie Guay (Magog, Que./North American Hockey Academy, JWHL) opened the scoring and Raygan Kirk (Ste. Anne, Man./Eastman, MFMHL) made 29 saves, but Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team fell a goal short in a 2-1 overtime loss to the United States in the series opener Thursday.
The Canadians were less than three minutes from victory before Makenna Webster tied it for the Americans, and Casey O’Brien netted the extra-time winner on the power play.
Both goaltenders were busy in the first period, with Kirk and U.S. counterpart Skylar Vetter combining for 18 saves in the opening 20 minutes.
The Canadians had the best scoring chance late in the frame when Shailynn Snow (Bay Roberts, N.L./Ridley College, JWHL) sprung Anne Cherkowski (Vernon, B.C./Pursuit of Excellence, CSSHL), but she couldn’t beat Vetter with a move to the backhand and the game went to the intermission scoreless.
Guay finally broke through 14 minutes into the second period, gathering in a Julia Gosling (London, Ont./London, PWHL) rebound in the slot and letting go a shot that popped up and over Vetter before trickling across the goal line.
It looked as if Kirk was going to make that goal stand up, turning aside multiple chances on eight American power plays, but Webster redirected an Abbey Murphy pass under the cross-bar to get the U.S. even with just 2:33 to go.
A ninth Canadian penalty late in the third period made the difference, as O’Brien wired a shot upstairs to give the Americans the victory only 77 seconds into the extra period.
The teams return to the ice at the Markin MacPhail Centre on Friday afternoon (4 p.m. MT) for the second game of the three-game set.