Canada loses women’s world hockey championship gold medal to the United States

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Published April 17, 2023 at 6:59 am

For all the focus on the United States’ young and retooled roster, it was who else but Hilary Knight — the team’s most experienced and accomplished star — who played a pivotal role in securing her nation’s 10th women’s world hockey championship gold medal and first in four years.

The 33-year-old Knight scored three times, including the go-ahead goal with 3:10 left in regulation, in a 6-3 win over Canada, and on their cross-border rival’s home soil in suburban Toronto on Sunday.

Apologizing for her voice being hoarse from a celebration that featured the Americans singing a rousing rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Knight broke into a smile and said, “Yeah, it’s been a while.”

The Americans overcame three one-goal deficits and the sting of losing the past three gold-medal meetings against Canada — the past two world championships and the 2022 Beijing Winter Games — to reclaim gold for the first time since a 2-1 shootout win over Finland in 2019.

“It’s hard to beat Canada. It’s hard to beat Canada in Canada, right? So we definitely felt like an underdog,” Knight added. “People are always rooting against us, but somehow we persevere and it feels sweeter that way. ”

With a U.S. roster featuring five players making their tournament debuts, Knight scored twice in the span of 27 seconds to capitalize on a two-player advantage with the game tied 3-3 late in the third.

The U.S. hasn’t defeated Canada with a gold medal on the line since the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea. Otherwise, Canada and the U.S. have met in the world tournament’s 21 other gold-medal games.

“They definitely had our number for a few years, so this one feels a little extra special,” Amanda Kessel said. “I’ve been on the other side of it where you’re just winning, winning, winning. And you kind of have their number and it’s a confidence thing. So I think this was huge for us.”

The U.S. finished with a tournament-leading 43 goals, and bounced back from a 4-3 shootout loss to Canada in the preliminary round. And they beat a veteran-laden Canadian team that featured a majority of players who have been together since winning in Beijing.

Knight finished with a tournament-leading eight goals, and tied for third with 12 points. Overall, she upped her tournament-record career goal total to 61, while also extending her record point total to 101. Knight also won her ninth tournament gold medal, which tied the record set by Canada’s Danielle Goyette.

The victory also came with Knight filling in as captain after Kendall Coyne Schofield announced she was pregnant last month.

“Obviously not having Kendall here, we felt that it’s sort of like a hole in your heart,” said Knight, who was having difficulty reaching Schofield because of poor cell service in the arena.

“She’s definitely missed,” Knight said. “And we’re happy that we could get this win. And we can’t wait for her to come back and join us.”

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