Despite a hard-fought 77-minute battle, Canada’s National Under-18 Women’s Team fell 2-1 in overtime to the United States in the gold medal game Thursday at the 2020 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship.
It is the eighth time Canada has finished with a silver medal at U18 women’s worlds (2008, 2009, 2011, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2020). It has also won five gold (2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2019) and one bronze (2018).
Sarah Paul (West Kelowna, B.C./Pursuit of Excellence, CSSHL) had the lone tally for Canada, tying the game on a third-period power-play off a feed from Ann-Frédérik Naud (Joliette, Que./John Abbott College, CEGEP).
Goaltender Ève Gascon (Terrebonne, Que./Collège Esther-Blondin, LHMAAAQ) put on another dazzling performance, making 32 saves as the Canadians were outshot 34-32.
“Obviously it’s tough for us to leave here without the gold, but there’s a lot of really good things happening with this group,” head coach Howie Draper (Edmonton/University of Alberta, CW) said. “The group really came together; they were a really tight-knit group and there was a tremendous amount of support around the dressing room. Ultimately, that was the most important thing – that we could come together and do some great things. If we did that we can’t lose, no matter what the end result.”
A former Yellowknifer, Annie King, was on the roster and played defence for Team Canada.
“It was definitely the fastest transition game that I’ve ever played,” King said in a CBC interview. “It’s really exciting to take part and then see the top girls in the entire world is definitely something that I’ll … always remember.”
Following the game, Cooper and forward Jenna Buglioni (Port Moody, B.C./Greater Vancouver, BCFMAAA) were named to the media all-star team.
“It’s a pretty tough loss, but it was inches and centimetres; I’m really proud of the whole team and the effort we put into this week,” Canadian captain Kendall Cooper (Burlington, Ont./Stoney Creek, PWHL) said. “I think it could have gone either way and it didn’t go our way today, but we’re going to continue to move forward and use the lessons we’ve learned over this last couple weeks and continue to improve.”