The Women's World Hockey Championship came to an end with the gold-medal game between Canada and the United States on Saturday morning. Much like any other match-up involving these two teams, this game saw high stakes, high scoring and high drama.
The first period was dominated by Team USA. In the opening three minutes, we saw the first goal of the game from Annie Pankowski. Both Dana Trivigno and Stephanie Anderson picked up assists on that goal. Just like that, Team USA was up 1-0, and they wouldn't stop there.
A few minutes later, with Team USA on the power play, Hilary Knight showed why she is considered one of the best female hockey players in the world, netting her team's second goal of the game. Penalty kill problems would rear their ugly heads again for Team Canada. Megan Keller made it 3-0 for Team USA on the power play with assists from Meghan Duggan and Jocelyn Lamoureux-Davidson.
Finally, just over half way through the first period, Rebecca Johnston scored Canada's first goal of the game while on the power play. Brianne Jenner and Brigette Lacquette picked up assists. Canada was on the board at last!
However, Team USA wasn't done scoring for the first period. With just over three minutes remaining, Anne Schleper scored the USA's fourth goal of the game, making Canada's hill to climb that much steeper. Canada scored again before the period ended, as Marie-Philip Poulin netted her first goal of the game.
The first period came to an end with a score of 4-2 for Team USA. Shots were 20-7 in their favour, showing just how dominant the USA was in the opening 20 minutes.
Canada is known for epic comebacks against Team USA (see Sochi 2014 Olympics), and in the second period, they would show us why. After another USA goal (from Haley Skarupa) made it 5-2, it seemed like this game was over. But Team Canada had other plans.
Brigette Lacquette diminished Canada's deficit with a goal about halfway through the second period. While it didn't seem like a lot at the time, it would start a scoring spree from Team Canada that got them back into this game.
A little over a minute later Rebecca Johnston scored her second goal of the game off a beautiful feed from Poulin behind the net. Under a minute after that, Caroline Ouellette (in her final game for Team Canada) scored to tie the game 5-5. Canada climbed their way out of a three-goal deficit in just over two minutes.
The first two periods saw ten goals, both goalies pulled and about the exact amount of drama that we expect from Canada and the USA.
Things calmed down a little in the third period, as both teams exchanged a handful of scoring changes, but neither seemed to carry the play in the first half. The second half, however, was somewhat of a different story.
Brianna Decker put Team USA ahead 6-5 after she and Hilary Knight found themselves on a 2-on-1 break. Decker made no mistake in putting the puck past Geneviève Lacasse. Just two minutes later, Kendall Coyne scored during a little scramble in the crease. Despite Canada's comeback efforts, they fell behind in this game once again.
With just minutes left in the game, Canada was down by two goals; a situation they are all too familiar with. But this time, things would not workout in Canada's favour. Team USA held on and took home a well deserved gold medal in the 2015 Women's World Hockey Championship with a 7-5 win over Canada.
Congratulations to Team USA on the win, and congratulations to Team Canada on a great effort to get back into this game.