As the tournament began last Monday, most were expecting the USA/Canada Gold medal game to be all but certain. After Sunday’s relatively uneventful semi-final matches, that is exactly what we have.
Despite Canada out-shooting Russia 22-2 the score was tied 1-1 heading into the second.
The Canadians would eventually score 2 more to win the first of the days semi-final matches 3-1 with a 51-18 shot advantage.
Sarah Potomak continued her strong U18WWC by adding two points to her tournament lead which now stands at 9.
In the late match the United States rolled to a 5-0 victory and an even more overwhelming 66-11 shot advantage over the Czech Republic.
Rebecca Gilmore had a big game for the US with 2 goals and 2 assists. She was also named player of the match for the US side. Melissa Samoskevich continued her standout tournament with 2 goals and 2 assists of her own.
Czech Republic goaltender Katerina Zechovska was named player of the match for their side as she turned aside 48 of 52 shots. She was pulled late in the 3rd as she looked visibly tired and drained. The effort earned a well deserved applause by the pro-US crowd post game.
Another solid showing of 1,430 spectators cheered on the United States. Mini American Flags were once again handed out to create a nice scene after each US goal.
Tomorrow’s Gold Medal match has been sold out since last Tuesday so nothing less than a spectacular atmosphere is expected. I can’t say for sure what the crowd division will be. Normally when you are this close to the border you’d bank on 70/30 pro-Canadian. However the US support has been strong in this tournament and I can see it closer to 50-50.
The Czech Republic will take on Russia for the Bronze medal earlier on Monday. Despite USA and Canada being the two superior teams today, a bronze medal is still a fantastic goal for both countries. I expect this game to be pretty good as well.
In other action on the day Switzerland beat Japan 3-2 in a shootout to wrap up their relegation series 2-0. Japan will be relegated to the 2nd division next year to make room for France who will move up.
Japan may have deserved a better fate after playing an incredible tournament. Most of their matches concluded with them out-shooting opponents and 1-2 goal losses. They should return home proud of how they played but no doubt the demotion will be on their minds.
Sweden and Finland played in the 5th place game with the Fins beating their geographic neighbors for the 2nd time in the tournament.