ST. CATHARINES, Ont. — The U.S. put 43 shots on net and Beth Larcom (Middletown, R.I./Mass Spitfires) earned a shutout to help the U.S. Women's National Under-18 Team to a 4-0 win against Sweden in a semifinal matchup at the 2016 International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Women’s World Championship. Team USA will play in the gold medal game at 7:30 p.m. ET tomorrow (Jan. 15) against the winner of the Canada versus Russia semifinal.
“We put a lot of pucks on net and had some timely goals and key saves to keep the momentum in our favor, win the game, and put ourselves in a position to do what we came here to do,” said Joel Johnson, head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Under-18 Team. “It’s a quick turnaround for tomorrow and we'll be ready to play our best and go for gold.”
Natalie Heising (Maple Grove, Minn./Wayzata High School) opened the scoring for Team USA when she intercepted a pass and put the puck in the top corner of the net at 6:24 of the first period. Shortly after Heising’s goal, the U.S. and Sweden exchanged power plays, but neither team was able to convert on their man advantages.
Five minutes into the second frame, Sweden had its best chance of the period with a slap shot from the left circle, but a save by Larcom kept Sweden off the board.
At 13:10 of the period, Sydney Brodt (North Oaks, Minn./Mounds View High School) scored on a backhander during a U.S. penalty kill to double Team USA’s lead.
With 10 seconds remaining on the clock, Emily Oden (Edina, Minn./Edina High School) caught a pass from Jesse Compher (Northbrook, Ill./Chicago Mission) from behind the net and put it home to make it 3-0 heading into the final period.
Taylor Heise (Lake City, Minn./Red Wing High School) buried a wraparound at 6:30 of the third stanza to account for the 4-0 final.
Tomorrow’s gold medal matchup will be streamed live on NHL.com.
NOTES: Natalie Heising was named the U.S. Player of the Game … The U.S. outshot Sweden, 43-9 … Team USA has outscored its opponent, 20-1, at this year’s tournament. For complete game statistics, click here … The U.S. is defending its gold-medal finish at last year’s IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship. The U.S. has played in the gold medal game in all eight of the previous events, capturing the event’s top prize four times (2008. 2009, 2011, 2015) … For more information on the 2016 U.S. Women’s National Under-18 Team, including a full roster, click here.