BELL NETS OT WINNER TO SEND CANADA OVER U.S. AT WORLDS
JASON LA ROSE
ZLIN, Czech Republic – Ashton Bell (Deloraine, Man./Westman, MFMHL) was the overtime hero, scoring 1:57 into the extra period to give Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team a 1-0 win over the United States to conclude preliminary-round play Tuesday at the 2017 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship.
The victory gives Canada top spot in Group A; it’s the first time the Canadians have beaten their rivals at the world championship since the 2014 gold medal game, a span of five games.
Bell did it all on the game-winner, back-checking to strip the puck from an American in the neutral zone before turning up-ice, cutting onto the left wing and picking the top corner on goaltender Alex Gulstene.
The game was a battle of the goaltenders, with Gulstene and Canadian counterpart Danika Ranger (Uxbridge, Ont./Durham West, PWHL) combining to stop 52 of the 53 shots directed their way.
Both teams had their chances in the first period, with the Americans getting three power-play chances, and the Canadians enjoying a pair of man advantages, but neither team could find the back of the net.
The best chance for Canada came just over six minutes in when Gabrielle David (Drummondville, Que./Limoilou, CEGEP) raced away on a shorthanded breakaway, only to be turned away by the left pad of Gulstene.
The Canadians held a 12-8 advantage in shots on goal in the second period before the teams were even 7-7 in an end-to-end third, leading to the three-on-three overtime and Bell’s game-winner.
Canada will wait for the results of the quarter-finals on Thursday to find out who they will face when the puck drops on the semifinals on Friday (10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT).