CANADA CLINCHES TOP SPOT IN GROUP A WITH WIN OVER U.S.
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia – Anne Cherkowski (Vernon, B.C./Pursuit of Excellence, CSSHL) opened the scoring and Marianne Picard (Repentigny, Que./Stanstead College, NAPHA) got the game-winner as Canada survived a late push from the United States to hold on for a 2-1 win on Sunday to close out preliminary-round play at the 2020 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship.
The perfect prelims mean Canada won't see the ice again until it takes on Finland or the Czech Republic in the semifinals on Wednesday (6:30 a.m. ET/3:30 a.m. PT).
It was a quick start for Canada, with Cherkowski’s goal coming just 20 seconds into the game. Maddi Wheeler (Erinsville, Ont./Kingston, PWHL) fought off an American defender behind the net to get a pass off to Cherkowski, who took no time to snap the puck into the back of the net while she was all alone in front.
A lengthy 5-on-3 power play gave the Americans the opportunity to find the equalizer midway through the first, but Canada was able to weather the storm and skated into the first intermission holding on to the 1-0 lead.
Neither team could find the back of the net in the second period. Cherkowski had the best chance to score for Canada, but was stoned by U.S. netminder Skylar Vetter on the breakaway. At the other end of the ice, Ève Gascon (Terrebonne, Que./Collège Esther-Blondin, LHMAAAQ) also stood tall, making several sprawling stops to preserve the Canadian lead.
Picard doubled the lead for Canada late in the third period. With 5:39 left, she intercepted a pass, skated around the American net and flipped it up and over the shoulder of Vetter to extend the lead to 2-0.
That goal would stand as the game-winner after the United States scored with two seconds left. With Vetter pulled and a scramble in front of the net after a shot in from Makenna Webster, Eden Lacey was able to tip the puck past Gascon to get the U.S. on the board.
Despite the last second goal, Gascon was brilliant between the pipes for Canada, stopping 27 of 28 shots.