CANADA TO PLAY FOR U18 WORLDS GOLD AFTER SEMIFINAL WIN
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Shae Labbe (Calgary, Alta./Warner School, JWHL) scored with just over six minutes left in the second period to give Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team the lead for good as the Canadians earned a spot in the gold medal game at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship with a 3-1 semifinal win over Russia on Sunday afternoon.
Canada will face winner of the United States-Czech Republic semifinal in Monday’s final (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT), which can be seen live through a FASTHockey webcast at www.fasthockey.com.
Labbe added an assist for a two-point game, Sarah Potomak (Aldergrove, B.C./Pursuit of Excellence, Midget AAA) had a goal and an assist and Jaycee Gebhard (Plenty, Sask./Notre Dame, PWHL) also scored.
Russia got off to a fast start, going ahead just over a minute into the first period after Fanuza Kadirova beat Marlène Boissonnault (Dundee, N.B./Rothesay Netherwood School, CAHS) on the breakaway for a quick 1-0 lead.
Gebhard put Canada on the board and tied the game at 15:36 of the first, banging home a Lindsay Agnew (Oakville, Ont./Mississauga, PWHL) rebound from just outside the crease. The goal was long overdue, as Canada dominated in the offensive zone – outshooting the Russians 22-2 in the opening frame.
The Canadians continued to apply pressure in the second, and were rewarded at 13:35 when Labbe converted the rebound of an Élizabeth Giguère (Quebec City, Que./Limoilou, CEGEP) shot for Canada’s first lead.
Russian goaltender Valeria Tarakanova was the story through two periods, making 36 saves as the Canadians held a 38-8 advantage in shots on goal after 40 minutes.
Potomak added insurance just past the six-minute mark of the third period, taking a feed from Labbe and beating Tarakanova over the glove.
Boissonnault was at her busiest in the third period, making 10 of her 17 stops, while Tarakanova stopped 12 of 13 in the third period, and 48 of 51 overall.
It is the second year in a row Canada has beat the Russians in the semifinals at the world championship; eight months ago in Budapest, Hungary, Canadian captain Lauren Wildfang was the overtime hero in a 1-0 win.