Canada edges U.S. 6-5 in overtime for women's world hockey championship gold

UTICA, N.Y. — Canada reclaimed the women's world hockey championship with a measure of revenge.

After losing last year's gold-medal game to the United States on home ice in Brampton, Ont., the Canadians turned the tables with Sunday's 6-5 overtime victory over the U.S. in Utica, N.Y.

"Oh man, that feels good to win it on U.S. soil," Canadian goaltender Ann-Renee Desbiens said. "We owed it to them and owed it to ourselves to win that one."

Danielle Serdachny scored the golden goal at 5:16 of overtime on a Canadian power play. The U.S. was caught with too many players on the ice in OT of a see-saw battle between women's hockey heavyweights.

Serdachny scored Canada's second power-play goal of the entire tournament with two seconds left in that penalty.

The 22-year-old from Edmonton backhanded a rebound off an Erin Ambrose shot by the pad of U.S. goalie Aerin Frankel.

"I'm still a bit in shock," Serdachny said. "I just tried to take the goalie's eyes away there and the rebound kind of popped right to me, so bit of a lucky one I'd say but just tried to get everything into it.

"When it was in the back of the net, I couldn't believe it still."

Canada's captain Marie-Philip Poulin scored her first two goals of the tournament. She tied the game in the second period and gave her team a brief 5-4 lead in the third.

The 33-year-old missed three PWHL Montreal games heading into the international break and sat out Canada's pre-tournament win over Finland with an undisclosed injury.

As Canadian head coach Troy Ryan gradually increased his captain's minutes in the tournament, Poulin was a feisty, physical force getting under opposing players' skins before getting on the scoresheet Sunday.

"Pou will always find a way to be a difference maker," Ryan said. "The end of the preliminaries and in the semifinal, she impacted with a little bit of greasy play with physicality and just finding ways to impact the game.

"Tonight was just a whole other level. I could see in her eyes every time we called her name that she was ready to go. There's very few athletes in the world that can perform in a pressure situation like she can."

Ambrose, Emily Clark and Julia Gosling also scored for Canada.

Desbiens had 19 saves in a high-scoring game that contrasted starkly with Canada's 1-0 loss in overtime to the U.S. in a Group A game earlier in the tournament.

No one Canadian player dominated the team's offence with 17 different women scoring at least one goal.

Renata Fast was chosen the tournament's top defender by the IIHF and was also named to the all-star team on defence.

Only Canada's 7-5 win over the U.S. in 2015 was a higher scoring final among the 22 games the two countries have played.

The archrivals required overtime or a shootout to decide a gold medal for an eighth time in tournament history.

Caroline Harvey, Hilary Knight, Megan Keller, Alex Carpenter and tournament MVP Laila Edwards scored for the U.S. Frankel stopped 24 shots in the loss.

"Three on three (overtime) is an extremely skilled game. It opens up the ice a lot for different mistakes and unfortunately we made a mistake in the wrong time," Knight said.

"I know we had two seconds on the clock with the kill and hats off to our penalty killers who have been absolutely outstanding all tournament. It really stings not to be able to get over the hump for this one."

Canada won a 13th gold medal in 23 tournaments. The 2024 world championship was the first held in the era of the new Professional Women's Hockey League.

Canada and the U.S. carried a combined 30 PWHL players on its rosters in Utica with the rest hailing from the NCAA.

While the gap between the North Americans and the rest of the field didn't close much in Utica, the pace and speed of games between Canada and the U.S. kicked into a higher gear with more players in midseason form.

Players on both sides said their preliminary-round game was the fastest and hardest game of their lives, and that high-octane hockey continued Sunday with a gold medal on the line in front of a pro-U. S. sellout crowd of 4,142 at the Adirondack Bank Center.

"The longer you stick around, the rivalry just continues to develop," said U.S. defender Megan Keller. "It's fun to be a part of. A little more fun when you're on the winning side."

Finland edged Czechia 3-2 in a shootout for the bronze medal. The 2025 women's world championship will be held in Ceske Budejovice, Czechia.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 14, 2024.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press