In a rematch of last year’s gold medal game, Team USA battled Team Canada once again in the IIHF Women’s World Championships. Nearly 14,000 fans watched the game at Scotiabank Place, located in Ottawa, where you can be sure Canada had the home rink advantage. Despite that edge, Team USA defeated Canada 3-2 in a tight game and captured the gold.
Courtney Birchard opened the scoring in the championship game, tallying at 9:50 of the first period to give Canada a 1-0 lead. Despite a handful of chances for both sides, including time on the power-play, the first period ended with Canada still ahead by one goal.
Early in the second, however, the U.S. got on the scoresheet after Brianna Decker scored at 2:43 into the second period. Team USA would grab the lead nearly twelve minutes later when Megan Bozek buried a shot past Canadian goalie Shannon Szabados. It wouldn’t take long for Canada to respond though, as Caroline Ouellette tallied three minutes later to tie the game. The second period would end with the score tied 2-2, with both teams ready for a fast paced third period where the next goal would likely win the game.
Team USA came out for the third period full of energy, and managed to turn that into a quick strike as Amanda Kessel scored the eventual game winner only 3:09 into the third period on a beautiful wrist shot from the right circle. “When we scored, it just went silent and there’s no better feeling,” Kessel said.
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Jessie Vetter stopped 14 of 16 shots she faced while earning the win between the pipes for Team USA. For Canada, Szabados made 27 saves while taking the loss.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling, I couldn’t feel any better,” Kessel said. “I definitely feel like it’s revenge. We got beat on our home soil last year and to come into Canada and win the gold medal is unbelievable.
The win for Team USA marked their fifth gold medal in the past seven Women’s World Championships. The only two losses for USA during that period occurred during 2012 and 2007, where Canada came out victorious.