The U.S. Women’s Under-18 Team won gold Monday night at the 2015 U18 Women’s World Championship on home ice at HarborCenter in Buffalo, New York. It is the first gold medal for the United States since 2011, and was earned by defeating fierce opponent and rival, Team Canada. The American women were undefeated in tournament play, including a prior win over Canada. Russia, who the United States beat 7-1, medaled for the first time in this event, taking home bronze.
Team captain Jincy Dunne was the hero of the game, scoring twice in the 3-2 victory including the overtime power play winner. The gold-medal clinching goal came just 51 seconds into extra time.
“I was just trying to put it on net,” said Dunne of her game winning goal. “Anything can happen when you shoot.”
Anything can happen, and it did for Dunne, who was named U.S. player of the game. Dunne also led all defensemen in scoring with a total of eight points in the tournament.
The gold medal game entertained a packed house in Buffalo. Most of the crowd was comprised of American supporters, but with the Canadian border not far away, many maple leaf clad fans were on hand as well. Canada struck early in the first period at 3:14, and held the 1-0 lead all the way until the last 33 seconds of the frame when Dunne scored her first goal to tie the match at one apiece. “Coach reminded us never get too high or too low,” said Dunne. “It’s a long game and we felt better and better.” Team USA certainly looked better and better as the game went on. While Canada had the upperhand in much of the first, the rest of the game was pretty well dominated by the Americans who outshot their opponent 41-18.
The United States took its first lead of the match 5:00 into the second period as Alyssa Gorecki scored on a one-timer feed from Alex Woken. Only 3 minutes and 28 seconds later, however, the score would be knotted again when Samantha Cogan scored for Canada to make it a 2-2 game. Despite the even score in the second, the U.S. peppered Canadian goalie, Marlene Boissonault, with 20 shots on goal. Turning away 19 in that period alone, and 38 in the entire game was enough to earn her the Canada’s player of the game honor. Canada only had 2 shots in the second stanza, but the Cogan goal on one of them was enough to secure them the tie through regulation, as no one scored in the third.
Dunne buzzed and had marvelous chances in the third, but her pressure would not be rewarded again until overtime. Canada had a carryover penalty in extra time, and managed to get one puck clear before Melissa Samoskevich brought it back in the offensive zone. She dropped it to Abby Roque, who then passed to Rebecca Gilmore at the left point. Gilmore found Dunne at the right point, and Dunne skated to the top of the right circle and, with the gold medal on her stick, wristed the puck into the net just 51 seconds into overtime.