CANADA WINS GOLD AT 2019 IIHF U18 WOMEN’S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

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Maddie Wheeler scored the game winner 1:34 into overtime, leading Canada to a 3-2 win over the United States and its 5th gold at the IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship. © Steve Kingsman/HHOF-IIHF Images

OBIHIRO, Japan – Maddi Wheeler (Erinsville, Ont./Nepean, PWHL) poked in her own rebound 1:34 into overtime, giving Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team to a 3-2 victory over the United States on Sunday morning in the gold medal game at the 2019 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship.

It’s the fifth world title for Canada, and its first since 2014.

With Canada on the power play early in the extra frame, Wheeler finished off her own end-to-end rush, beating Skylar Vetter when the American netminder couldn’t cover the puck off Wheeler’s initial shot.

Wheeler had collected five assists in her previous four games, but the goal was her first of the tournament.

Danielle Serdachny (Edmonton, Alta./Pursuit of Excellence, PWHL), who scored the OT winner to beat Russia in the semifinals, got the scoring started in the final. Julia Gosling (London, Ont./London, PWHL) tipped an Alexie Guay (Magog, Que./North American Hockey Academy, JWHL) point shot to a wide-open Serdachny, who banged it in past a sprawled-out Vetter.

The U.S. evened up the score late in the second period with a power-play marker from Makenna Webster, who walked in from the point and unloaded a shot that beat Canadian goaltender Raygan Kirk (Ste. Anne, Man./Eastman, MFMHL) through a maze of bodies in front.

Abbey Murphy gave the U.S. its first lead of the game six minutes into the third period, tucking a Casey O’Brien rebound around Kirk, but Anne Cherkowski (Vernon, B.C./Pursuit of Excellence, CSSHL) knocked in a centring pass from Gosling to tie the game just five minutes later.

The Americans nearly ended the game in regulation with a flurry of scoring chances in the dying seconds of the third, but Kirk stood tall and turned them all aside to get the game to overtime.

The teams took turns holding wide shots-on-goal advantages – the U.S. outshot Canada 12-5 in the first period and 11-4 in the third, while the Canadians had a 16-4 edge in the second. Overall the teams finished even, 27-27.

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