Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team looks to defend it world title Sunday when it takes on Sweden in the gold
medal game at the 2023 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship.
Canada booked its place in the final with
a come-from-behind 3-2 overtime win over Finland in its Saturday semifinal. Alex Law was the hero for the Canadians, tying
the game with 7:22 remaining in the third period before netting the winner
7:32 into the extra period. Abby Stonehouse had the other Canadian goal and
Hannah Clark made 24 saves.
Sweden put on a show for 2,122 fans who filled Östersund Arena for its
semifinal against the United States,
stunning the seven-time world champions 2-1 to move into the gold medal game for the first time since 2018. Mira
Jungåker and Astrid Lindeberg provided the offence for the Swedes, scoring
power-play goals in the second period, and Felicia Frank finished with 37
saves to keep the U.S. out of the final for the first time ever.
Canada and Sweden met Monday in preliminary-round play,
a 4-2 victory for the Canadians. Caitlin Kraemer scored twice, while Law and Emmalee Pais also added
goals. Clark made 43 saves in the win – 16 in the third period – and the
Canadians finished 13-for-14 on the penalty kill.
What to Watch
Clark has been a solid presence in the Canadian crease, highlighted by her
43-save effort against the Swedes in the prelims and her 24 stops with the
tournament on the line against the Finns. The Oshawa, Ont., native has
fashioned a 1.60 goals-against average (third in the tournament) and .939
save percentage (second), allowing just three goals at even strength.
Frank has been terrific in goal for the Swedes, making 37 saves against the
U.S. and posting overall numbers similar to Clark (1.50 GAA, .939 SV%),
while the defence has contributed seven of the 19 goals scored in the
tournament, including both in the semifinals. And let’s not forget about
the fans. It should be another loud crowd on Sunday as Sweden chases its
first-ever international women’s hockey gold.
A Look Back
Canada and Sweden have met 11 times at the U18 women’s worlds, with Canada
owning a perfect record.
A trio of Olympic gold medallists have turned in terrific performances
against the Swedes – Mélodie Daoust had four points (3-1—4) to lead the way
a 6-1 semifinal win in 2009, while the defensive duo of Brigette Lacquette (1-3—4) and Erin Ambrose
(0-4—4) helped Canada to
an 8-0 prelim win in 2010.
This is the second time Canada and Sweden have met in the final of a major
international tournament – at the 2006 Olympics, the Swedes upset the U.S.
in a semifinal shootout, but
Canada earned a 4-1 win for its second of four consecutive Olympic golds.
All-time record: Canada leads 11-0
Canada goals: 59
Sweden goals: 11