Canada's Renata Fast (14) celebrates her goal over Czechia with teammates during second period hockey action at the IIHF Women's World Hockey Championship in Utica, N.Y., Sunday, April 7, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christinne MuschiTHE CANADIAN PRESS/Christinne Muschi
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christinne Muschi

Team Canada forces USA to overtime in final game of preliminary play at IIHF Women’s World Championship

The Canadian women have made a successful start to the IIHF Women’s World Championship in Utica, New York.

Team Canada is determined to reverse last year’s result, which saw the Canadians fall to the Americans on home ice in Brampton, Ontario. This year, they’ll be seeking a win against the Americans on US home ice. The two countries have met in every gold medal game in women’s world championship history except for 2019 when host Finland fell to the U.S. in the championship game, making it a rivalry for the ages.

Monday, April 8: USA 1 – Canada 0 (Overtime)

Team Canada closed out their preliminary-round play at the 2024 IIHF Women’s World Hockey Championship on Monday night with a tight game against Team USA. The Americans prevailed with an overtime game-winner by Kirsten Simms, and will finish first in Pool A with a 4-0-0-0 record, while the Canadians will finish second in Pool A with a 3-0-0-1 record.

A scoreless 60 minutes is not unusual for the Canada/USA rivalry–this is the third time a game between the two teams has gone to OT at worlds. The other two instances were both during gold medal games, at the 2005 and 2016 world championships.

Team USA narrowly outshot the Canadians 30-26. Team Canada’s goalie Ann-Renée Desbiens was named player of the game.

Team Canada’s head coach Troy Ryan saw lots to like from his team during Monday’s close game, saying that he’s not stressed about the loss: “It’s a really good game to end the preliminary round at the world championship. You come into the game obviously trying to win but you’re also trying to learn as much about the opposition in order to continue getting better.”

The Canadians will next face off against Sweden in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

Sunday, April 7: Canada 5 – Czechia 0

In their third round-robin game on Sunday afternoon, Canada defeated Czechia 5-0 to remain undefeated.

Putting three pucks in the net in the first period, Canada came out flying to take control of the play from start to finish. Danielle Serdachny started the Canadian scoreboard at 2:07 for her first of the tournament, jamming the puck in after a scramble in front. Seven minutes later, with a penalty about to be called, Kristin O’Neill took a shot that fooled Czechia’s goaltender Klara Peslarova and trickled over the goal line.

Czechia had few answers to the Canadians speed and power. O’Neill made it 3-0 after another bobble by Peslarova. She stopped O’Neill’s initial shot, but the Canadian batted in the bouncing puck.

Czechia came out strong in the middle 20, but the Canadians upped their lead when Renata Fast found the net at 24:31 with a long screen shot. Midway through the period, Czechia had their best change intercepting a Canadian pass, but goalie Ann-Renée Desbiens came in clutch with the save. Laura Stacey made it 5-0 at 45:43 bulldozing her way to the front and roofing the puck over Perlarova.

Canada keeps a perfect 3-0 record in Group A. The loss drops the Czechs to 1-2 and keeps them in third place. Canada and the U.S. play their final game of the preliminary round tomorrow night to decide first place. Czechia has a day off before facing off against Switzerland on Tuesday.

Friday, April 5: Canada 3 – Switzerland 0

Canada defeated Switzerland 3-0 in its second round-robin match on Friday night.

Emma Maltais, Sarah Nurse and Sarah Fillier scored the goals for the Canadian side. In Canada’s goal, Emerance Maschmeyer was kept light, posting a 17-save shutout in her first start of the tournament.

Team Canada, playing its second match in 18 hours, wasted no time in opening the scoring. After 1 minute 10 seconds of play, Maltais pushed the rebound of Natalie Spooner‘s shot into the back of the net to score her second goal in as many games.

At 7:46, a shot into the top of the net from Nurse gave Canada a 2-0 lead.

Neither team was able to score in the second period, the highlight of which was the two penalties awarded to Canada in 30 seconds at the start of the period. The Canadians were, however, able to pass the three-on-five without allowing their opponents a shot.

The Swiss team pulled its goalkeeper three minutes from time. With 21 seconds remaining in the game, Fillier added an empty-net to confirm Canada’s 3-0 victory.

Canada’s next match will be against Czechia on Sunday, April 7 at 3 p.m. ET. Then they will play the defending champion United States on Monday.

Thursday, April 4: Canada 4 – Finland 1

Canada defeated Finland 4-1 on Thursday evening in its first round-robin match in Group A.

Brianne Jenner, Emma Maltais, Julia Gosling and Ella Shelton scored for Canada. Canadian goalie Ann-Renée Desbiens made 33 saves, taking her to a career record of 36-7 with Team Canada.

Captain Marie-Philip Poulin was in uniform for the first match of the tournament, having been injured in recent weeks, missing three games with PWHL Montreal prior to the international break. “Captain Clutch,” as the three-time Olympic gold medallist is called, sat out during Team Canada’s pre-tournament game against Finland, during which the Canadians prevailed 8-2.

The Canadians opened the scoring against Finland at 9:15 when Jenner snagged a rebound from Jamie Lee Rattray to score the only goal of the first period.

Canada increased its lead at the start of the second period when Maltais beat Finnish goalkeeper Sanni Ahola at 1:58. The Finns replied less than three minutes later to reduce the lead to just one goal. At the very end of the period, Julia Gosling celebrated her very first World Championship match in style, adding her name to the list of those who scored for the maple leaf. The Canadians went into the locker room with a 3-1 lead.

Shelton made it 4-1 at 17:40 in the third, scoring on a back pass from Ashton Bell as she fell close to the goal. The Finns made a last-ditch effort to score by pulling their goalie, but failed to gain another point.

Canada will next face Switzerland on Friday afternoon.

Group A, and the top three from Group B will move on to the quarter-finals on April 11. The semi-finals will take place April 13, with the medal games on April 14.