ÖSTERSUND, Sweden – The U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team fell to Sweden, 2-1, in the semifinal round of the IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship on Saturday.
Despite the loss, Team USA will play again on Sunday in the bronze medal game. Puck drop is set for 10 a.m. ET and will be broadcast live on NHL Network. The U.S.’ opponent will be determined by the second semifinal game between Canada and Finland.
“We had a little bit of a slow start there,” Katie Lachapelle (Lewiston, Maine), head coach of the 2023 U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team said. “We lost a little bit of gas there and their goaltender was fantastic. We didn’t do a good job of getting pucks deep. It’s a good group and it’s a shame we couldn’t come out on top.”
The game opened at a quick pace, when two minutes into the frame, a turnover in the U.S. defensive end resulted in a breakaway for Sweden. Goaltender Annelies Bergmann (Detroit, Mich.) sticked the shot away to keep the tilt scoreless.
Shortly after, the U.S. earned its first power play opportunity of the night, where despite multiple chances, could not find the back of the net.
With 2:44 left in the first, Team USA jumped out to a 1-0 lead. Finley McCarthy (Whitefish, Mont.) won a battle along the boards, carried the puck behind the goal and found Lucia DiGirolamo (Woburn, Mass.) wide open in front of the net. DiGirolamo took the pass and put a behind-the-back backhander through the pads of Swedish netminder Felicia Frank.
Less than three minutes into the second, Sweden was awarded a full two minutes of 5-on-3 play. During the power play, Mira Jungaker put a high shot from the slot, knotting the contest at 1-1.
Sweden pulled ahead, 2-1, on another power-play goal when Astrid Lindeberg deflected a shot from point shot past Bergmann.
Sweden received yet another 5-on-3 opportunity towards the end of the second, but the U.S. penalty kill held them off the board, keeping the game at 2-1.
The third period proved a tight contest as the U.S. pressed offensively, but was unable to tie the game, falling 2-1. It marks the U.S.’ first loss in the semifinals at the IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship.
NOTES: Annelies Bergmann (Detroit, Mich.) was named U.S. player of the game… Forwards Maggie Scannell (Wynantskill, N.Y.) and Joy Dunne (O’Fallon, Mo.), goaltender Annelies Bergmann (Detroit, Mich.) were named IIHF three best players of the tournament… The U.S. outshot Sweden, 38-27.