MADISON, Wis. – Team USA dispatched Canada, 7-0, to finish the IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship preliminary round undefeated and secure the top spot in Group A here tonight at LaBahn Arena in front of 2,180 fans.
“I thought we just played really well all over the ice,” head coach Katie Lachapelle (Lewiston, Maine) said. “It’s all over the ice. We talked about how we’re moving without the puck, being good defensively and smothering that player with the puck. We’ve got some fast kids and they play hard. They are really starting to gel. I think we keep getting better every game.”
With the win, the U.S. heads into the playoff rounds as the top seed, going a perfect 3-0 in preliminary-round play and earning a bye to the semifinal round set for Sunday (June 12) at either 3:30 p.m. ET or 7:30 p.m. ET.
Goaltender Annelies Bergmann (Detroit, Mich.) recorded 25 saves in the shutout. The victory marks the first time the U.S. has blanked Team Canada in the history of the tournament.
Less than five minutes into the opening period, the U.S. took advantage of its first power play opportunity. Madison Kaiser (Andover, Minn.) deflected a Finley McCarthy (Whitefish, Mont.) shot from just above the faceoff dot behind the Canadian netminder to take a 1-0 lead.
Back-to-back penalties gave Canada 1:17 of a 5-on-3 advantage, but stellar defense and a smattering of clutch saves from Bergmann kept them off the scoreboard.
At 14:02 of the first, a Molly Jordan (Berlin, Conn.) shot from the point managed to avoid traffic in front of the goal and found its way to the back of the net to give the U.S. a 2-0 lead. With 2:32 left in the first period, Ava Lindsay (Minnetonka, Minn.) deked a defender in the slot and put away a rising shot from close range to extend to U.S. lead to 3-0.
Midway through the second, Maggie Scanell (Wynantskill, N.Y.) fired a shot from a tough angle and beat the Canadian netminder to make it 4-0. Just more than a minute later, Kelly Gorbatenko (Barrington, Ill.) carried the puck up the ice on the rush, cut to middle and ripped a shot low to the glove side to extend the lead to 5-0 and force a Canadian goaltender change.
Laila Edwards (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) scored a tournament-leading fourth goal on a power-play opportunity 10:22 into the third when she wristed a shot past the glove of the Canadian netminder to make it 6-0. Less than a minute later, Josie St. Martin (Stillwater, Minn.) banked a shot off Canada’s goalie to extend the lead to 7-0.
The opponent, game time and broadcast/streaming details for Sunday’s semifinal will be announced following the quarterfinals.
NOTES: Annelies Bergmann (Detroit, Mich.) was named player of the game after a 24-save shutout… The U.S. outshot Canada in the game, 34-25.