by Kristen Lipscombe
March 29, 2014, BUDAPEST, Hungary (ISN) – Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team will play for its third consecutive gold medal Sunday at the IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship, after edging Russia 1-0 in overtime in semifinal action Saturday at the Budapest Ice Center.
Canada will face off against the United States in the gold medal game for the seventh time in as many years, tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. ET/9:30 a.m. PT. The U.S. beat the Czech Republic 3-1 to earn its spot in the gold medal game. Live statistics from the game will be available online at www.hockeycanada.ca, and live streaming will be available via the International Ice Hockey Federation by clicking HERE.
On Saturday, Lauren Wildfang (Waterdown, Ont./Toronto, PWHL) scored the game-winning goal at 3:09 of the extra frame, on assists from Rebecca Leslie (Ottawa, Ont./Ottawa, PWHL) and Karly Heffernan (Sherwood Park, Alta./Pursuit of Excellence, JWHL). Shea Tiley (Shallow Lake, Ont./Waterloo, PWHL) made 24 saves for the shutout en route to Canada’s fourth straight win at this year’s world championship.
In the other semifinal Saturday, the U.S. beat the Czech Republic 3-1 to earn its spot in the gold medal game. The Czech Republic and Russia will battle for the bronze medal tomorrow at 3 p.m. local time/9 a.m. ET/6 a.m. PT, also at Budapest Ice Center.
In the preliminary round earlier this week, Canada beat Japan 7-1 on Sunday, March 23, blanked Finland 7-0 on Monday, March 24 and shut out the Czech Republic 5-0 on Wednesday, March 26, for a perfect record. The Czech Republic claimed second in Group A, Finland took third and Japan came in fourth place. The United States finished first in Group B, with Russia coming in second, Sweden taking third and Hungary finishing in fourth place.
Canada and the United States have met in all six previous gold medal games at the IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship. The Canadians won the world championship last year, edging the Americans in overtime 2-1 in Heinola, Finland, as well as in 2012, shutting them out 3-0 in Zlin, Czech Republic. Canada also won in 2010, defeating its cross-border rival 5-4 in overtime in Chicago, Ill. The U.S. took gold in 2008, 2009 and 2011.
Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team is being led by head coach Laura Schuler (Scarborough, Ont./University of Minnesota Duluth, WCHA) and assistant coaches Dwayne Gylywoychuk (Winnipeg, Man./Hockey Canada) and Cassandra Turner (Campbellford, Ont./Quinnipiac University, ECAC). Wildfang is serving as team captain, while Heffernan, Alexandra Labelle (St-Louis-de-Gonzague, Que./St-Laurent, CEGEP) and Hannah Miller (Vancouver, B.C./Okanagan Hockey Academy, JWHL) are alternate captains.
Heffernan and Miller both won the gold medal at the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship in Heinola and Vierumäki, Finland, last January.
Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team features 22 players, including two goaltenders, seven defencemen and 13 forwards. Twenty-one players were members of Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team for a three-game series against the U.S. Women’s Under-18 Team in Lake Placid, N.Y., last August, winning two of those games. Samantha Cogan (Ottawa, Ont./Nepean, PWHL) is the lone player making her Team Canada debut at the world championship.
Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team, broken down by province:
- Ontario – 10 (Bach, Cogan, Leslie, MacMillan, Noronha, Pinkney, Sauvé, Tiley, Wildfang and Wilson-Bennett)
- British Columbia – six (Bellerive, Hart, Fieseler, Miller, Potomak and Spring)
- Quebec – four (Labelle, Lalancette, Picard and Stacey)
- Alberta – two (Healey and Heffernan)