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U.S. Racks Up Accolades En Route to Unprecedented Fourth Consecutive U18WWC Gold

By United States, 01/17/18, 9:45AM EST


Heise Named Top Forward, MVP; Ostertag Named Top Defenseman

Last Saturday, the U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team closed the 2018 International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Women’s World Championship in Dmitrov, Russia, by capturing an unprecedented fourth consecutive gold medal with a 9-3 win over Sweden. The victory gave the United States its seventh title in the event’s 11-year history after also claiming gold in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2015, 2016 and 2017. 

“I thought our players, coaches and all of our staff all supported the mission of coming together to win”, said Joel Johnson, head coach of the 2018 U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team. “This group really came together as a family and it reflected in the way we played throughout the tournament.”

The tournament began on Sat., Jan. 6, with Team USA earning a 2-1 overtime victory against Sweden after Makenna Webster (St. Louis, Mo.) netted the game-winning goal 2:47 into the extra frame. The next day, the U.S. topped host Russia, 5-3, in front of an energized crowd in Dmitrov. Team USA closed the preliminary round on Jan. 9 against rival Canada, clinching the top seed in Group A and a bye to the semifinals with a 6-2 victory.

On Jan. 12, the U.S. and Canada squared off in the semifinals of the event for the first time ever, where Team USA rallied from a two-goal deficit in the final period to force overtime. After neither team were able to convert in the extra frame, Britta Curl (Bismarck, N.D.) and Webster each scored in the shootout while Lindsay Reed (New Vernon, N.J.) stopped the final four shots she faced to clinch to win, 4-3, and advance to the gold-medal game the following day. In the gold-medal game, four players recorded two goals to lead Team USA to a 9-3 win over Sweden. 

As a team, the United States led the tournament with 26 goals scored and a goal differential of plus-14, in addition to being tied for the tournament lead with eight power-play goals. Webster finished tied for second among all skaters with nine points (2-7), while her seven assists led the tournament. Forwards Taylor Heise (Lake City, Minn.), Abbey Murphy (Evergreen Park, Ill.) and Curl each ranked second with four goals apiece. Forward Casey O’Brien (Milton, Mass.) paced all skaters with a plus-10 rating, while Reed was the only netminder to notch four wins in goal throughout the competition. 

Other Notable Team Accolades

Heise, who served as team captain, was named the Top Forward and Tournament MVP after scoring four goals and adding four assists in five games. The Lake City, Minnesota, native scored twice in Team USA's preliminary-round win over Russia en route to earning Player of the Game honors. Defenseman and alternate captain Gracie Ostertag (Shakopee, Minn.) was named the tournament's Top Defenseman with a plus-two rating and two assists while playing on Team USA's top pairing. Both Heise and Ostertag earned their third gold medals at the IIHF Under-18 Women's World Championship after helping both the 2016 and 2017 U.S. squads win gold. 

Heise and Webster were two of the three forwards selected to the tournament's Media All-Star Team, and were joined by Curl in being named the Top Three U.S. Players of the tournament. The trio combined for 10 goals and 25 points at the event. 

With the gold medal, the U.S. becomes the first country to win four consecutive titles at the IIHF Under-18 Women's World Championship, and is the only country to have won either gold or silver in the first 11 years of the tournament's history.


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U.S. Schedule

Date Opponent Location Result U.S. Player of the Game
Sat., Jan. 6 Sweden
Preliminary Round
Ice Palace
Dmitrov, Russia
W (OT), 2-1 Makenna Webster
Sun., Jan. 7 Russia
Preliminary Round
Ice Palace
Dmitrov, Russia
W, 5-3 Britta Curl
Tues., Jan. 9 Canada
Preliminary Round
Ice Palace
Dmitrov, Russia
W, 6-2 Taylor Heise
Fri., Jan. 12 Canada
Ice Palace
Dmitrov, Russia
W (SO), 4-3 Casey O'Brien
Sat., Jan. 13 Sweden
Gold-Medal Game
Ice Palace
Dmitrov, Russia
W, 9-3 Dominique Petrie

2018 U18 Women's Worlds News