by Kristen Lipscombe
March 30, 2014, BUDAPEST, Hungary (ISN) – Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team has won its third consecutive gold medal at the IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship, defeating the United States 5-1 in Sunday’s final at the Budapest Ice Center.
After a scoreless first period, Sarah Potomak (Aldergrove, B.C./Pursuit of Excellence, Midget AAA) cracked the board for Canada at 15:04 of the second period on a pass from Victoria Bach (Milton, Ont./Mississauga, PWHL). Two quick goals from Ève-Audrey Picard (Longueuil, Que./St-Laurent, CEGEP) and Samantha Cogan (Ottawa, Ont./Nepean, PWHL) made it 3-0 Canada after 40 minutes. Although the U.S. was able to narrow the gap with an early third period goal, Picard and Potomak answered back by scoring their second goals of the game late in the period to give Canada the win and the gold medal. Shea Tiley (Shallow Lake, Ont./Waterloo, PWHL) made 26 saves for the victory.
In the preliminary round earlier this week, Canada beat Japan 7-1, blanked Finland 7-0 and shut out the Czech Republic 5-0, for a perfect record and first place in Group A. 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 seven 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.
The top three Canadian players at the tournament, as selected by the Canadian coaches, were Bach, Tiley and defenceman Lauren Wildfang (Waterdown, Ont./Toronto, PWHL).
Earlier Sunday, the Czech Republic beat Russia 1-0 to claim the bronze medal.
Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team was 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 served as team captain, while Karly Heffernan (Sherwood Park, Alta./Pursuit of Excellence, JWHL), Alexandra Labelle (St-Louis-de-Gonzague, Que./St-Laurent, CEGEP) and Hannah Miller (Vancouver, B.C./Okanagan Hockey Academy, JWHL) were 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 that made 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)