You simply could not have asked for a better ending to an already great tournament at Harborcenter.
51 seconds into overtime of the Gold Medal game against Canada, the sea parted for USA captain Jincy Dunne and she walked right into the slot with the puck.
“I was just trying to put it on net,” Dunne said after. “Anything can happen when you shoot.”
And that she did. Right into the top left corner.
With that the US bench emptied onto the ice and created a pileup in the corner. Gloves and sticks were scattered everywhere. The celebration was on.
The Americans become the first team to win the Women’s U18 tournament on home soil and also broke Canada’s three year run at the top.
The game started out with the Canadians in full control. Scoring early on a US giveaway, they would hold a 1-0 lead late into the first.
But Captain America, #3 Jincy Dunne had her first moment. She took the puck from behind her own net, skated around 2 players and finished her end to end rush with a sick back hander top shelf to even the game at 1.
That goal started a tidal wave of US momentum that carried into the 2nd period.
Alyssa Gorecki finished a nice centering feed to give the US the 2-1 lead early in the second.
But despite the Americans dominance including a 20-2 shot advantage in the period, the Canadians chipped one in just minutes later.
We would continue the 2-2 deadlock throughout the third period.
However Canada began to show some fatigue late taking 4 minor penalties in the last 10 minutes. All credit to their penalty killers as the US could get nothing going on any of them.
The last penalty with under a minute to play in regulation would prove costly.
Overtime begins 4 on 4 so the power play gave the US a 4 on 3 to kick things off. Dunne made no mistake with her first shot attempt.
One of the most unforgettable international moments I will probably ever witness in person.
The sellout crowed, which was pro-American, was unbelievable. The building was so loud after the game winning goal I could have sworn we just won the Olympic gold!
Congratulations to all of the teams who participated. Congrats to Russia who won the Bronze medal earlier in the day as well. The Harborcenter put on one hell of a show. Thanks to the IIHF and Sabresfans for allowing me access to cover the event. The fans were great the entire tournament and we showed up in strong numbers.
The hockey was great, to anyone who wasnt able to attend but caught the fever after USA won gold, next years tournament will be in St. Catherines! Just down the road in the Niagara Region!
The Canadians were a good match but it was TEAM USA on this day. Gold Medal. Congrats ladies!
Photo: Francois Laplante / HHOF-IIHF Images
Header Photo: Courtesy Buffalo Sabres