Natalie Snodgrass (Eagan, Minn./Eastview High School) scored twice, including the game-tying and gold medal-clinching goals, as the U.S. Women’s National Under-18 Team battled back from a two-goal deficit to seal a 3-2 overtime victory against Canada in the 2016 International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Women’s World Championship.
"I’m so proud of how our team battled through adversity and stayed strong against a tough Canadian team," said Joel Johnson, head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Under-18 Team. "The way we came back from a two-goal deficit shows a lot about what this team is made of. This is an amazing group of young women and they earned this tremendous victory."
With 6:01 on the clock in the first period, the Canadians thought they found the back of the net, but the goal was disallowed after the referees determined the puck never crossed the goal line.
About four minutes later, however, Canada’s Jaime Bourbonnais converted on the rush to make it 1-0 heading into intermission.
In the opening minutes of the second period, Taylor Wente (Plymouth, Minn./Maple Grove High School) broke through on a near breakaway, but was tripped up to give the U.S. a power play. During the man advantage, Team USA had multiple chances, including a series of shots in front of the net, but couldn’t get one past goaltender Stephanie Neatby.
Canada took a 2-0 lead at 5:58 when Daryl Watts scored on the blocker side with a wrist shot.
Alex Woken (Fargo, N.D./Shattuck St. Mary’s) put the U.S. on the board with five minutes remaining in the period when she forced a turnover at the U.S. blue line, skated the puck into Canada’s zone and scored far side on a shot from the right circle.
Team USA had a chance to tie the game after Wente almost finished a feed from Cayla Barnes(Corona, Calif./East Coast Wizards) in the final minute of the period during a U.S. power play, but she was denied in front of Canada’s net.
At 8:03 of the third frame, Snodgrass picked up her own rebound and buried a wraparound attempt to knot the score 2-2.
In the final 30 seconds of the period, Alex Gulstene (Vancouver, Wash./Okanagen Hockey Academy) made a series of saves during a scramble in front of the net to send the game into overtime.
Just 1:47 into extra time, Snodgrass picked up a rebound at the left post and tapped it into the net for the game-winning goal.
photos Janos Schmidt