MADISON, Wisconsin – Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team is bringing home gold from the 2022 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship after a thrilling 3-2 victory over the United States in the gold medal game Monday.
Alexia Aubin (Lévis, Que./Stanstead College, JWHL) opened the scoring just over five minutes into the game, redirecting an Ava Murphy (Kitchener, Ont./Oakville, OWHA U22 Elite) shot from the point past American goaltender Annelies Bergmann, marking Canada’s first power-play goal of the tournament. Madison Chantler (London, Ont./London, OWHA U22 Elite) also provided an assist.
The score remained 1-0 until just past the midway mark of the second period when a blast from Murphy found the back of the net after a strong forecheck from Jade Iginla (Lake Country, B.C./RHA Kelowna, CSSHL), who was credited with an assist alongside Aubin.
Jocelyn Amos (Ailsa Craig, Ont./London, OWHA U22 Elite) jumped on a rebound to net the eventual game-winner just 58 seconds later to increase the Canadian lead to three, with Karel Préfontaine (Gatineau, Que./Stanstead College, JWHL) and Sara Swiderski (Langley, B.C./RHA Kelowna, CSSHL) chipping in assists.
The United States pushed back late in the second with goals from Finley McCarthy and Claire Enright just seven seconds apart, making it a one-goal game heading into the final frame, but Canada was able to fend off late pressure to capture its sixth gold medal and first since 2019.
“We knew what we had to do. We had to stick together and work on the habits that we have been working on this whole tournament,” said Murphy. “We talked about getting pucks on net, so when the puck came to my stick, I knew what I had to do. I threw the puck in front of the net, and we were lucky to get [our first] goal out of it. I’m so proud of everyone, we really worked hard. To have our dreams come true and win gold is an amazing moment.”
Mari Pietersen (Goodwood, Ont./Etobicoke, OWHA U22 Elite) was terrific in net, shutting the door in the third period as part of a 29-save performance.
A full game summary can be found at HockeyCanada.ca.
Following the gold medal game, Swiderski was named to the media all-star team. In six games, she contributed two assists and 16 shots on goal, and was instrumental in Canada’s defensive efforts with a +6 rating.
“I dreamed about this moment, but I did not believe it would feel this good,” said Swiderski. “It feels great to be recognized [as an all-star], but it is not possible without my teammates; they gave me the opportunities to showcase myself. Our team was aggressive and that brought us momentum today.”
“It was a great effort, there was lots of hunger, lots of battle. The [United States] is such a skilled team, and they are so strong, so we had to grit it out,” said head coach Howie Draper (Edmonton, Alta./University of Alberta, CW). “It is so fun playing in a game this big against such a strong team; you want to get into these tough competitions. Our players were prepared to do anything to find success. They really played for each other.”
Canada finished the preliminary round in third place in Group A after a win over Sweden and losses to Finland and the United States. It booked a spot in the gold medal game with a dominant 7-0 win over Slovakia in the quarterfinals and a narrow 2-1 victory over Finland in the semifinals.
Since 2008, Canada has collected six gold medals at the U18 women’s worlds, to go along with seven silver and one bronze.
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