Nicole Gosling scored 3:12 into overtime, Ann-Frédérik Naud and Sarah Paul added goals and Canada started its gold medal defence with a 3-2 extra-time victory over Russia. © Steve Kingsman/HHOF-IIHF Images

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia – Nicole Gosling (London, Ont./London, PWHL) netted the game winner 3:12 into overtime to lead Canada to a thrilling 3-2 victory over Russia to open the 2020 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship on Thursday.

Gosling’s game winner came after Canada fended off early pressure from the Russians to start the extra period. Jenna Buglioni (Port Moody, B.C./Greater Vancouver, BCFMAAA) stole the puck from a Russian, skated the puck out of her zone and fed a cross-ice pass to Gosling, who whipped it into the back of the net to seal the victory for Canada.

Canada got on the board late in the first period with a goal from Ann-Frédérik Naud (Joliette, Que./John Abbott College, CEGEP). Naud took a lead pass from Maya Labad (Mascouche, Que./John Abbott College, CEGEP), skated into the slot and snapped home a shot that snuck under the pad of Russian netminder Anna Alpatova.

Naud scored late in the first to open the scoring and Sarah Paul (West Kelowna, B.C./Pursuit of Excellence, CSSHL) scored early in the second to extend the lead, netting her goal 3:55 into the middle frame to make it 2-0. With Canada controlling play in the Russian end, Maddi Wheeler (Erinsville, Ont./Kingston, PWHL) fed Paul for the one-timer and she made no mistake, firing it home top shelf.

Canada was dominant throughout the game, outshooting Russia 36-19 overall, including 13-5 in the third. Despite the imbalance in shots, Russia was able to find the back of the net twice to pull even with Canada and force overtime.

Veronika Korzhakova broke the shutout midway through the third to draw Russia within one, tipping home a shot from Polina Luchnikova. Kristi Shashkina tied the game with a wrist shot just over three minutes later.

Canada is back in action on Friday against Finland (6:30 a.m. ET/3:30 a.m. PT).