Canada edges U.S. in extended shootout at IIHF World’s tilt

Apr 11, 2023 | Sports

BRAMPTON — A disallowed goal, a clock malfunction, last-minute heroics in the final minutes and a nine round shootout in the Canada and United States preliminary round game gave fans of the IIHF Women’s World tournament a taste of what could potentially be another intense gold medal match.

The dramatics and bizarre situations made for a great game, with the Canadians ultimately came away with a 4-3 shootout victory against their North American rival.

Everytime the two teams play, it is going to be close. This game was no different. This game marked the 33rd time the two teams have played at the worlds. Canada now holds a slim 17-16 advantage with a goals differential of 95-91.

Going into this game, both teams and their fans had this match-up circled on their calendars, and it did not disappoint.

“They are by far the best games, you always know they’re going to be interesting,” Canadian goalie Ann-Renée Desbiens said after the victory. “I don’t think this rivalry could get any better, and we saw another version of it today. That was pretty interesting.”

The events in the final minutes had 4,322 of fans at CAA Centre at the edge of their seats.

Going to the third period with a 2-1 lead after goals by Sarah Fillier and Marie-Philip Poulin, forward Laura Stacey would cushion their lead with an empty netter with just over two minutes remaining.

It looked like the game was headed toward an easy victory for the Canadians.

But the Americans had other plans for the night.

Shortly after Stacey’s goal, Canada’s Fillier had a goal of hers waived off for goalie interference. Then, American captain Hilary Knight capitalized on the no-goal and scored to cut the deficit in half. But there was a problem: The scoreboard at the CAA Centre went dark during the play. Confusion ensued, and no one knew how much time was left.

“When there wasn’t a clock, I was like, ‘I have no idea how much time is left. Hopefully, we’ve got another minute or something,’” Knight said.

The clock returned, but it was followed by a lengthy review of an offside challenge that was denied.

Although there were only 39 seconds left in the third, it was all the Americans needed to tie the game.

Amanda Kessel scored with 3.5 seconds left, stunning the CAA Centre crowd and sending the game into OT.

U.S. head coach John Wroblewski applauded his young team for not backing down against the strong Canadians.

“Being in the game against that Canadian team, in the end, is all you can ask for,” he said. “I mean, look at them. They’re loaded. They’re big, they’re fast, they’re skilled, so I’m super proud of our girls for holding them at bay and then being able to take our swings when we can.”

Both goalies Desbiens and Aerin Frankel went toe-to-toe the entire night and that continued into the shootout. After each allowed a goal on the first shot, it was lights out until forward Jamie Lee Rattray ended it for Canada in the ninth round.

Desbiens, celebrating her 29th birthday, stopped eight of nine shooters, adding to her 26 saves across regulation and overtime.

“It’s definitely my favourite birthday so far. Pretty special,” she said. “Obviously, I had to make it interesting at the end of the third period to keep that game going. I guess I wasn’t ready to go back to the hotel just yet.”

The win gives Canada the top spot in Group A with a 3-1-0-0 record, and they will play the third-place team in Group B in one of the quarterfinals on Thursday.

Germany edged Hungary 2-1 on Day 7 of the tournament to clinch the second spot in Group B, while Sweden crushed France 8-2 to lock up the third spot.

The results mean Canada will get Sweden in the quarterfinals on Thursday at 5 p.m. ET, while the U.S. will play Germany at 1:30 p.m. ET that day. Czechia plays Finland at 10 a.m. ET, while the Swiss play Japan at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Considering the history, the North American rivalry will likely be renewed in the championship game. Canadian head coach Troy Ryan said they will use the lessons from this game for the rest of the tournament

“A lot of times it’s who learns the most from that game that’s gonna be successful moving forward,” Ryan said of Monday’s win.

“So it’s not about the final, it’s not about playing them again,” he said. “It’s who’s going to be most successful in the quarterfinals and semifinals moving forward.”