Team Canada advances to IIHF Women’s World Championship semifinals
Team Canada has secured a semifinal spot at the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship.
Sarah Nurse scored the overtime winner for Canada in a hard fought 3-2 quarterfinal win over Sweden on Thursday in Brampton, Ontario. Nurse and Blayre Turnbull scored in regulation time. Goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer made her second appearance of the tournament and made 12 saves in the victory.
The win pushes Canada, who are looking to win a third straight women’s worlds gold medal, into Saturday’s semifinals. All games are taking place at Brampton’s CAA Centre and will be broadcast on TSN.
Netminder Emma Söderberg was named Sweden’s player of the game with an impressive 51-save performance. That included stopping all 16 of Canada’s shots in the third period, allowing her team to tie the game in the dying seconds of regulation time.
Turnbull opened the scoring at 8:20 of the opening frame, deking around Sweden’s defense before sliding a backhand shot five-hole on Söderberg. Sweden had a strong opening few minutes but Canada began to control the play as the period moved along with shots ending 14-5 in favour of the Canadians.
Canada took a 2-0 lead at 13:01 of the second period on a power play. Shortly after stepping out of the penalty box, Nurse skated into the circle from the side boards and ripped a shot past the blocker of Söderberg to double Canada’s advantage.
Sweden got on the board with 1:23 remaining in the period thanks to a power play goal of their own. The puck made its way to Lina Ljungblom in the slot who beat Maschmeyer with a quick wrist shot to make it a one-goal game. It was Ljungblom’s seventh goal of the tournament.
Canada was pressing hard in the first half of the third period, keeping the puck in the offensive zone for most of it. Captain Marie-Philip Poulin had one of Canada’s better chances, firing a shot off the crossbar. Despite the sustained pressure, Sweden’s defense was able to keep a lot of quality chances from hitting the net.
With around five minutes remaining it looked as though Canada’s leading scorer, Sarah Fillier, had put her team up by two. Despite the horn sounding, the puck rolled behind Söderberg and through the crease but did not cross the goal line.
With 9.2 seconds remaining and Söderberg on the bench, a shot went off the glass behind the net and bounced in front where Hilda Svensson scored through a scramble to tie things up at 2-2 and send the match into overtime.
Canada was generating all kinds of chances during the three-on-three overtime. 4:26 into the extra frame, Fillier found an open Nurse in the circle who fired a shot off Söderberg’s glove and in to give Canada a 3-2 victory.
The win improved Canada to a perfect 11-0 against Sweden all-time at the women’s worlds. The two recently met in the quarterfinals of the 2022 tournament where the Canadians posted a 3-0 victory.
Team Canada won all four of their preliminary round games at this year’s event, outscoring opponents 18-4 en route to finishing atop Group A. That included a 4-3 shootout victory over the United States on Monday to secure first-place.
Following Saturday’s semifinal matches, the women’s worlds gold and bronze medal games will be played on Sunday.