US beats Canada for the gold
KAMLOOPS, BRITISH COLUMBIA >> Alex Carpenter put another gold medal around the Americans' necks.
The daughter of former NHL player Bobby Carpenter struck 12:30 into overtime to lift the United States over Canada 1-0 Monday night to win the women's world hockey championship.
The US power play was 0 for 3, but Carpenter scored shortly after time expired on a US 4-on-3. She got her stick behind a sprawling Maschmeyer to bat the puck in.
"It got pretty quiet, so I wasn't really sure if it went in," Carpenter said. "I've had some chances throughout the tournament and I guess this was just the right place at the right time. I would have given up any other goal at any other point for this one."
The US went undefeated en route to its third straight world championship gold and extended its win streak in the tournament to 14 consecutive games dating back to 2013.
The US and Canada have met in every final of the 17 women's world championships. Canada won the first eight, but the balance of power has swung south of the border with its archrivals now taking seven of the last nine.
"For sure this one stings a lot more, especially playing in Canada," Canadian captain Marie-Philip Poulin said. "Every time you work so hard for something and you get silver, that's hard."
In contrast to last year's 7-5 finale won by the US in Malmo, Sweden, the gold-medal game at the Sandman Centre was a goaltending showcase.
Canada's Emerance Maschmeyer made 33 saves in her first start in a world championship final. The 21-year-old dressed for two games but did not play in Malmo last year.
Alex Rigsby, who had more big-game experience, posted a 32-save shutout. She was the finisher of last year's final, playing just over a period in relief of Jessie Vetter.
"It definitely helped getting that gold-medal victory," she said. "Same thing, it was going out there and making sure I was trusting my talent and making sure I was doing the things I could do to help our team be successful."
Canada outshot the US 25-23 over three periods but was outshot 9-4 in the third and 11-7 in overtime. The Canadians didn't capitalize on a pair of power-play chances in overtime and went 0 for 6 with the man advantage overall.
Rigsby's spectacular pad save on a deking Laura Fortino and Maschmeyer stoning Carpenter on a short-handed breakaway had the sellout of 5,850 buzzing in the second, as did Halli Krzyzaniak's well-timed block on a US odd-man rush late in the period.
The Americans beat Canada north of the border for gold for the second time in the last three world championships. The US prevailed 3-2 in the 2013 final in Ottawa. A dozen players from that squad played again in Kamloops.
Canada may be the reigning Olympic champions, having beaten the US in a 3-2 overtime thriller in 2014, but the US is winning more world championship skirmishes between Winter Games and performing on demand more consistently.
Hilary Knight, widely considered the best power forward in women's hockey, and Meghan Duggan have played in all seven of those finals. Coached by former NHL defenseman Ken Klee for a second year, the US outscored their opponents 23-2 in the tournament.
The Americans were the more rested team in Monday's final, having cruised to a 9-0 win over Russia in Sunday's semifinal. Canada burned more fuel getting by Finland 5-3 with its Sunday night semifinal.
Each country's roster consisted mostly of players from rival leagues. The Americans had 10 players from the new US-based NWHL, while 18 Canadians spent this season in the Canadian Women's Hockey League.
Russia downed Finland 1-0 in a shootout for the bronze medal.
Finnish goaltender Meeri Raisanen, defensemen Monique Lamoureux of the US and Jenni Hiirikoski of Finland and forwards Hilary Knight of the US, Rebecca Johnston from Canada and Christine Hueni of Switzerland were named to the tournament All-Star team.
Knight was voted the tournament's most valuable player by the media.
The International Ice Hockey Federation directorate chose Maschmeyer as the tournament's top goalie, Hiirikoski best defender and Knight top forward.
The US is the host country of next year's world championship in Plymouth, Michigan. Hockey Canada is expected to announce the players invited to try out for the 2018 Olympic team soon.
The US, Canada, Finland, Russia and Sweden have qualified for the 2018 Winter Olympics with South Korea joining the field as the host country. The remaining two countries will be determined in qualifying tournaments in 2017.
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