BRAMPTON, Ontario – The U.S. Women’s National Team advanced to the gold-medal game of the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship with a 9-1 win over Czechia on Saturday afternoon at the CAA Centre. The U.S. will face the winner of Saturday’s semifinal game between Canada and Switzerland (update: the U.S. will face Canada), with puck drop for Sunday’s gold-medal game set for 7 p.m. ET live on NHL Network. Team USA has reached the gold medal game at every Women’s World Championship.
Hilary Knight (Sun Valley, Idaho), Amanda Kessel (Madison, Wis.) and Tessa Janecke (Orangeville, Ill.) each scored twice in the decisive victory, while Cayla Barnes (Eastvale, Calif.) Caroline Harvey (Salem, N.H.) and Taylor Heise (Lake City, Minn) combined for 9 assists with three apiece. Knight’s first tally early in the second period stood as the game-winner.
With the win, Team USA improved to 5-0-1-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L) in this year’s tournament.
“It’s really exciting for USA Hockey and we’re really proud to represent our country and have the opportunity to achieve our goal of winning gold,” said John Wroblewski (Neenah, Wis.), head coach of the 2023 U.S. Women’s National Team. “I’m proud of the process and all of the work this group has put it from the start of this tournament. Tomorrow night will be exciting for everyone.”
Kessel opened the scoring when she ripped home a one-timer past Czechia netminder Blanka Skodova for a power-play goal with 8:30 remaining in the first period. The goal came after acrisp, cross-ice pass from Barnes, with Harvey also earning an assist on the play. Kessel has now scored a goal in three consecutive games, while Harvey has registered a point in every game of the tournament.
With a one-goal lead heading into the second, Team USA erupted for three straight goals to take a 4-0 lead before the midpoint of the period. The U.S. struck twice in the opening six minutes thanks to two goals from Knight.
First, Knight converted on another pass from Barnes at 4:22 into the period, this time on a 2-on-1 rush. Abby Roque (Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.) earned an assist on the play as well. Knight then scored a little over a minute-and-a-half later when she redirected a point shot from Harvey for a power-play goal, giving the U.S. a 3-0 advantage and marking their third power-play tally of the game.
Harvey helped Team USA make it 4-0 with 11:47 to go in the middle frame when she slid a pass from behind the net to Abbey Murphy (Evergreen, Ill.), who poked the puck into a wide-open net. Alex Carpenter (North Reading, Mass.) also picked up an assist.
The U.S. answered a second-period Czechia goal, when Roque extended the lead to 5-1 with Team USA’s fourth power-play goal of the game at five minutes remaining in the period. Heiseand and Haley Winn (Rochester, N.Y.) notched assists on the play.
Kessel made it 6-1 with 1:41 to go in the second period when she batted the puck out of the air and into the net following a shot from Knight.
Tessa Janecke (Orangeville, Ill.) helped the U.S. keep it rolling with two rebound goals in the third period, and Harvey then made it 9-1 with 5:52 remaining in the game on a wrist shot off a pass from Kessel, notching her fourth point (1G, 3A) of the game.
Aerin Frankel (Chappaqua, N.Y.) made 14 saves in goal for Team USA.
Notes: Amanda Kessel was named U.S. Player of the Game with two goals and an assist … The U.S. outshot Czechia 45-15 … The U.S. was 4-for-5 on the power play, and a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill … Caroline Harvey (1G, 3A) and Hannah Bilka (1A) both kept their point streaks alive, and have now notched at least one point in every game during the tournament.