The medal games are set as Canada and the USA will face off for a gold medal, while Finland and Sweden will play for bronze. Regional rivals will collide on the final day of the women’s U-18 World Championship.
Following each semifinal, the top three players from the Group A teams were named for the tournament. For Canada, it was Sara Swiderski, Sarah MacEachern, and Jocelyn Amos earning the recognition, while Finland’s top three were Emilia Krykko, Sanni Vanhanen, and Oona Havana. The USA’s top three players were Laila Edwards, Sydney Morrow, and Tessa Janecke, while Sweden’s top three included Lisa Jonsson, Mira Markstrom, and Nicole Hall.
Here’s a look at each game, and three stars from the semi-final games:
Canada - 2 vs. Finland - 1
Jade Iginla made her presence known circling the offensive zone in the opening period before ripping a shot over the shoulder of Finnish netminder Emilia Krykko who made 43 saves in the loss. After Tilli Keranen tied the game in the second period, the teams exchanged chances in the third. With less than 10 minutes remaining, Madison Chantler broke in down the right wing wall before cutting to the net where she went to her backhand and outwaited Krykko to slide home the game-winner.
Sweden - 2 vs. USA - 3
For a moment, the USA looked mortal. They looked beatable in the second period after Sweden scored a pair of powerplay goals. Mira Jungaker and Stella Lindell had the markers as the USA fought an internal battle to remain disciplined and entered the third period down a goal. As the third period began, Margaret Scannell stepped out and scored, and with the game winding down still tied, Grace Dwyer took a point shot scoring the game-winning goal to complete the comeback. Sweden had chances of their own with captain Nicole Hall and forward Mira Markstrom playing key minutes. While the result was not in favor of the Swedes, they’ll take major confidence into the bronze medal game.
Slovakia - 2 vs. Czechia - 7
Slovakia got on the board first, but the usual suspects for Czechia got their team rolling. Adela Sapovalivova and Tereza Plosova scored second-period goals for Czechia who piled on the offense scoring six in the second frame. Plosova had a four-point period, as did Tereza Pistekova who had two goals and two assists. Czechia scored another in the third to take a lopsided victory.
Switzerland - 7 vs. Germany - 3
Switzerland won the relegation round with a convincing victory over Germany. It was the Alina Marti show as she showed her experience from representing Switzerland both at the Olympic Games and World Championships in the last two seasons. Marti had two goals and three assists in the game. Alessia Baechler had a strong performance on the Swiss blueline contributing a goal and two assists. On Germany’s side, Lola Liang continued her output in the tournament scoring her team-leading third goal.
1. Karel Prefontaine (CAN) - While it was Jade Iginla and Madison Chantler who scored Canada’s goals, both spectacular individual efforts, it was Prefontaine who pushed play. She was relentless on the forecheck and backcheck creating turnovers and keeping Finland from establishing a clean attack. She assisted on Chantler’s game-winning goal, but it was her two-way play that impressed the most.
2. Jade Iginla (CAN) - She rotated into lines throughout the game, likely not at 100 percent after a pre-tournament injury. When she was on the ice though, Iginla’s speed took away time and space from opponents. Her goal showed a glimpse of what Canada had missed earlier in the tournament as she calmly carried the puck from behind the net up the left wing board, across the blueline, and back into scoring position down the right side before going over the shoulder of Finland’s Emilia Krykko. It was a beautiful goal, and it will be interesting to see how much Canada uses Iginla in the final.
3. Grace Dwyer (USA) - Apart from Sydney Morrow, who was named one of the top three players from the USA, Grace Dwyer displayed her mobility and offensive chops throughout the tournament as well. Dwyer has excellent edgework and wasn't afraid to walk the line, opening her body to the play while looking for lanes. In the semi-final, her persistence paid off as Dwyer scored the winning goal late in the third period on a point shot. While Morrow takes the accolades, Dwyer has been a force in her own right.