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Team USA Tops Slovakia 7-1 in Opening Game at Under-18 Women's World Championship

By USA Hockey, 01/07/24, 9:30AM EST

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Six-goal third period propels U.S.

ZUG, Switzerland – Behind a six-goal third period, the U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team defeated Slovakia, 7-1, in its opening game of the 2024 IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship at Bossard Arena.

“We had a little bit of a slow start, but I thought we hung in there and ended up getting rewarded for playing the game the right way,” said Liz Keady Norton (Boston, Mass.), head coach of the 2024 U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team. “We stuck to the plan and were able to get everyone involved.”

An early first period penalty saw numerous quality shots on net for Team USA, but a turnover in front of the net lead to a shorthanded opportunity that Slovakia’s Alica Jurikova capitalized on to put the opponent up, 1-0.

The U.S. dominated the remainder of the period, outshooting Slovakia 21-5, but entered the period still down 1-0.

Midway through the second, Team USA tallied its first goal of the tournament. After an extended period in the offensive zone, Kendra Distad (Burnsville, Minn.) dug a puck out from the left corner, sending a short pass to Caroline Averill (Wayland, Mass.) who was waiting at the edge of the faceoff circle to wrist a rising shot into the net.

The U.S. opened the final period firing on all cylinders, scoring five goals in the span of 4:02, a new tournament record. Maggie Scannell (Wynantskill, N.Y.) opened the period’s scoring less than 32 seconds in finding the back of the net from the slot.

Just 13 seconds later, Josie St. Martin (Stillwater, Minn.) split the defenders and took an off-balance rising shot that found its way past the goalie. Averill tallied her second of the game, Team USA’s fourth, just 11 seconds later.

Jordyn Petrie (Lincoln, Neb.) posted the fifth goal of the game midway into the period and Ava Thomas (Downington, Pa.) put the sixth one away just a minute and a half later.

On an ensuing power play, Morgan McGathey (Braintree, Mass.) sent home the U.S.’ seventh.

Team USA continues preliminary-round play tomorrow (Jan. 8) against host Switzerland. Puck drop is set for 12 p.m. ET and can be viewed on NHL Network.

NOTES: Caroline Averill (Wayland, Mass.) was named Team USA’s Player of the Game… The U.S. outshot Slovakia 63-10.

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