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U.S. prevails 6-3 over Canada to claim women's world championship gold

Despite the tough loss in Brampton yesterday, Georgetown's Sarah Fillier was still named the tournament's MVP and top forward, with seven goals and four assists in seven games
USA forward Hilary Knight, centre, holds the cup as she celebrates victory with teammates after IIHF Women's World Hockey Championship gold metal hockey action against Canada in Brampton, Ont., on Sunday, April 16, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

BRAMPTON, Ont. — Disbelief was the emotion for Canada after a loss that came in such stunning fashion.

Captain Hilary Knight scored the go-ahead goal as part of a hat trick in leading a U.S. comeback en route to a 6-3 gold-medal victory over Canada at the world women's hockey championship on Sunday.

The Americans scored four unanswered third-period goals after entering the frame down 3-2.

The two sides have met in every world championship gold-medal final since the tournament's inception in 1990, aside from 2019. Canada had defeated the U.S. in three consecutive gold-medal finals entering Sunday, between the previous two worlds and the 2022 Beijing Olympics. 

"I think we're in a little bit of disbelief," said Canadian forward Brianne Jenner with a look of hurt. "Not that we don't know the opponent is a great hockey team, but we believe so firmly in our group.

"Even when we were down with a couple minutes left, we were still thinking that we were gonna find a way, so it stinks. It just hurts right now."

Caroline Harvey tied the game at 3-3 5:40 into the third period. She moved in from the point, made Blayre Turnbull bite on a fake and sent a wrist shot that beat Ann-Renee Desbiens on the glove side.

Knight gave the Americans their first lead of the game with 3:10 left in the third. She scored on a 5-on-3 power play after Jenner (tripping) and Claire Thompson (delay of game) were sent to the penalty box.

"Without a doubt," said Canada head coach Troy Ryan when asked if the 5-on-3 was the turning point. "At that point of the game, it's difficult to go down by two and obviously, the U.S. capitalized."

Twenty-seven seconds later, Knight completed her hat trick to give the U.S. a two-goal lead.

With 1:58 remaining, Cayla Barnes furthered the Americans' advantage with an empty-netter and, in the process, draining much of the remaining energy out of the CAA Centre crowd.

"Hilary Knight took over there, our captain," said U.S. head coach John Wroblewski. "She's just the heart and soul of the team right now. … It's an honour working with Hilary and her new infusion of energy."

Ryan said he kept it short with his team post-game in the locker room. 

"We only went in for a little bit, message was pretty clear. There's not a whole lot you could say in those situations to make them feel any better," Ryan said. "As a staff, we just wanted to make sure we're in the room with them, have similar types of feelings that they have.

"I just told them how proud I've been of them and how resilient they've been and just how proud they should be."

Captain Marie-Philp Poulin, whose been around for many of the epic battles against the Americans, called Sunday's setback "a tough one."

"Lots of mixed feelings," Poulin said. "Being on home soil, obviously you don't want to disappoint those fans. They've been here all tournament … it's a disappointing loss, you always wanna win. This one doesn't define us, it's just gonna give us more motivation."

When asked about getting revenge at the 2024 worlds in Utica, N.Y., Poulin nodded her head with a smirk and said, "for sure."

Abbey Murphy had the other goal for the U.S. Aerin Frankel made 24 saves.

Jenner, with two goals and an assist, and Poulin, with a goal and an assist, scored for Canada. Desbiens stopped 16-of-21 shots. 

Canada's Sarah Fillier was named the tournament's MVP and top forward. The 22-year-old Georgetown, Ont., native had seven goals and four assists in seven games.

Czechia defeated Switzerland 3-2 in the bronze-medal game earlier on Sunday.

Twenty-five seconds after Hayley Scamurra was sent to the penalty box for hooking, Lacey Eden joined her for a delay of game after sending the puck over the glass and into the crowd.

A mere 14 seconds later, Canada struck on the 5-on-3 power play. Poulin scored on a one-timer from the right faceoff circle on a dish from Erin Ambrose 6:23 into the first period.

Murphy knotted the contest with 1:59 left in the first. She took the puck on a dish from Alex Carpenter, put a toe drag move to get around a diving Ambrose and sent it five-hole on Desbiens.

Coming out of a successful penalty kill early in the second period, Canada came out firing with scoring chances. After a few misses, Jenner scored from the point on a dish from Renata Fast 5:03 into the frame.

Knight tied the contest 8:30 into the second. Amanda Kessel drove into Canada's zone on a 2-on-1, got around a diving Ella Shelton, and sent the puck across to Knight, who tapped it in.

Jenner doubled her scoring total just 69 seconds later. She tipped in a point shot from Fast to make it 3-2 for Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 16, 2023.

Abdulhamid Ibrahim, The Canadian Press