ESPOO, Finland – The U.S. defeated Finland, 2-1, in a shootout here tonight in the gold-medal game of the of the 2019 IIHF Women’s World Championship, claiming its fifth consecutive world championship gold medal and the program’s eighth in the last nine tournaments.
With the game tied 1-1 after overtime, the game went to a five-player shootout. Amanda Kessel (Madison, Wis.) and Annie Pankowski (Laguna Hills, Calif.) scored in the first two rounds of the shootout. The Pankowski goal proved to be the difference as Alex Rigsby (Delafield, Wis.) made the final stop to secure gold for the U.S.
“I’m extremely proud of our team tonight for playing their game while emotions were running high, in a loud building and against a team that played us incredibly hard,” said Bob Corkum (Salisbury, Mass.). “It’s been an honor to coach this team and a fantastic experience here in Espoo. We can’t thank the organizing committee enough for the hospitality over the past two weeks.”
In a building packed with Finnish fans, the first 10 minutes of play were very intense. The U.S. generated a few quality scoring chances and eight shots on net, but were not yet able to get on the board.
In what was perhaps the U.S.’s best chance of the period, with seven minutes remaining, Jesse Compher (Northbrook, Ill.) carried the puck back to the blue line and dropped it back for Lee Stecklein (Roseville, Minn.) to attack. Stecklein stickhandled through traffic and tried to squeeze a shot by Finnish netminder Noora Raty, but was turned away to keep the score 0-0.
Dani Cameranesi (Plymouth, Minn.) was sent to the penalty box 23 seconds into the middle stanza for a hooking infraction, but the U.S. was able to stave off the Finnish attack to hold the game scoreless. Seven minutes later, Brianna Decker (Dousman, Wis.) was assessed another penalty, this time for a trip, but again, the U.S. was successful on the kill.
The U.S. had a great sequence of chances with about six minutes remaining in the middle period, but despite putting multiple shots on goal, the score would remain 0-0.
With 4:14 remaining in the second period, the U.S. finally broke through. Kendall Coyne Schofield (Palos Heights, Ill.) won a puck battle in the neutral zone and passed it up to Pankowski. Then, Pankowski took a wrist shot from the right face-off circle that beat Raty on the glove side to give Team USA a 1-0 lead.
The Finns answered back with 1:30 remaining when Petra Nieminen connected with Susanna Tapani streaking down the left wing for a shot that beat Rigsby high on the blocker side to even the score. The game would remain tied through the third to send the game into overtime.
Midway through overtime, it appeared Finland scored the overtime winner, but after official review the goal was waved off. After chances from both sides, the buzzer sounded and the game went to a shootout.
Rigsby made 26 saves. With the win, Rigsby becomes the winningest goaltender for a single Women’s Worlds in the tournament’s history with five wins.
The U.S. finishes the tournament with a perfect record for the fourth consecutive Women’s Worlds dating back to 2015, and its sixth time overall.
NOTES: Pankowski was named player of the game for the U.S. … Coyne Schofield was named the tournament's best forward ... The U.S. outshot Finland 51-27 ... Attendance for the game was announced as 6,053 … For complete game statistics, click here ... Corkum is serving as head coach of the 2018-19 U.S. Women's National Team, alongside assistant coaches Joel Johnson (White Bear Lake, Minn.) and Brian Pothier (New Bedford, Mass.), and goaltending coachSteve Thompson (Anchorage, Alaska)... The U.S. has won the last four IIHF Women's World Championships and captured the top prize a total of eight times (2005, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017), including seven of the last eight tournaments. Team USA is 71-4-6-8-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L-T) in 90 career games and has outscored opponents 593-135 ... All games will be broadcast live in the U.S. on NHL Network... For more information about the tournament, click here.
All U.S. games televised live on NHL Network
Games will be held at Metro Areena
|Thu., April 4||Finland
|Espoo, Finland||W, 6-2||NHL Network|
|Sat., April 6||Canada
|Espoo, Finland||W, 3-2||NHL Network|
|Sun., April 7||Switzerland
|Espoo, Finland||W, 8-0||NHL Network|
|Tue., April 9||Russia
|Espoo, Finland||W, 10-0||NHL Network|
|Thu., April 11||Japan
|Espoo, Finland||W, 4-0||NHL Network|
|Sat., April 13||Russia
|Espoo, Finland||W, 8-0||NHL Network|
|Sun., April 14||Finland
|Espoo, Finland||W, 2-1 (SO)||NHL Network|