CANADIAN U18 WOMEN ON TOP OF THE WORLD – AGAIN
BUDAPEST, Hungary – Team Canada is as good as gold, once again. For the third straight year, Canada finds itself at the “top of the world,” after defeating the United States 5-1 on Sunday afternoon at the Budapest Ice Center. The 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship victory gives the Canadians an edge over their rivals in the record books, as Canada has now won four gold medals and the Americans have won three since the event’s inception seven years ago.
Always a bitter battle on the ice, the first period in Sunday’s match-up went scoreless, with each team getting multiple power play opportunities and the puck flying up and down the ice in an exciting competition, as expected. Family and friends who travelled from North America to Europe to take in the big event enthusiastically cheered on both teams, stripes and stars filling one side of the stands and maple leaf flags being proudly waved on the other.
It wasn’t until just over 15 minutes into the second period, when Canada was on a power play, that Victoria Bach (Milton, Ont./Mississauga, PWHL) fed linemate Sarah Potomak (Aldergrove, B.C./Pursuit of Excellence, Midget AAA), who buried the puck to kick-start an impressive scoring streak.
Ève-Audrey Picard (Longueuil, Que./St-Laurent, CEGEP) notched another just over a minute later, on assists from Alexandra Labelle (St-Louis-de-Gonzague, Que./St-Laurent, CEGEP) and Samantha Fieseler (Kelowna, B.C./Pursuit of Excellence, JWHL), while Samantha Cogan (Ottawa, Ont./Nepean, PWHL) let off a beautiful shot at 18:34 of the second to make it 3-0 after 40 minutes of play.
Although U.S. forward Alexandria Laing was able to narrow the gap to 3-1 early in the third, Picard and Potomak answered back by scoring their second goals of the game late in the period to put Canada up 5-1 in the gold medal game’s final minutes.
As the clock ticked down, the Canadian fans whooped and hollered and players waited eagerly on the bench, until finally the buzzer sounded and they were able to jump over the boards and pile up on the ice with their teammates in celebration.
Shea Tiley (Shallow Lake, Ont./Waterloo, PWHL) earned the win between the posts, and was named player of the game for Canada. Bach, Tiley and captain Lauren Wildfang (Waterdown, Ont./Toronto, PWHL) were named Canada’s three top players of the tournament.
“All the girls are really happy that we did it together,” Wildfang said. “Our spirit, our energy that we had going for us, … our slogan that we lived by; … we had so many great keys to the game that really put us on top.”
Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team adhered to the team motto “Grounded We Stand Tall” leading up to and during the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship.