USA wins bronze at 2023 IIHF U18 Women's World Championship
The Americans technically had their worst finish in tournament history, but they'll still be coming home with a bronze medal after a 5-0 win to Finland.
OSTERSUND, Sweden — Earning a bronze medal at a world championship is normally something to be very proud of, but earning a third-place finish is something that proves to be quite bittersweet for Team USA.
The Americans have only ever finished in first or second place in the entire history of the IIHF U18 Women's World Championships and this year had to settle for bronze after being upset by Sweden in the semifinals .
Earning bronze isn't something to be upset about though as Finland proved to be a tough opponent. They almost upset Canada in the semifinals, only losing in overtime to the reigning gold-medalists.
The Americans first put themselves on the scoreboard late in the first period. Captain Joy Dunne (O'Fallon, Mo. / Ohio State) shot a rebound from her backhand to put her team up 1-0 heading into the break. Assists were given to Elly Klepinger (Corcoran, Minn. / Minnesota) and Bella Fanale (Webster, N.Y.)
CAPTAIN GETS USA ON THE BOARD!— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) January 15, 2023
Joy Dunne gets the game going! @usahockey 🇺🇸🚨#U18WomensWorlds pic.twitter.com/IBfX4LHe8E
Goaltender Annelies Bergmann (Detroit / Cornell) committed the first penalty of the game midway through the second frame. The American goaltender tried to swat away a puck but instead tripped a Finnish skater.
Being on the penalty kill proved to be an advantage for Team USA who scored a shorthanded tally. Maggie Scannell made a stretch pass up to teammate Sammy Taber (Tewksbury, Mass. / Boston College) who slid the puck past netminder Kerttu Kuja-Halkola .
SAMANTHA TABER ON THE BREAKAWAY🇺🇸@usahockey up 2-0 😎#U18WomensWorlds pic.twitter.com/AoE9lwqgjg— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) January 15, 2023
Less than two minutes later, the Americans scored again. This time, Kendra Distad (Burnsville, Minn. / Minnesota) and Lindzi Avar (Chanhassen, Minn. / Cornell) made back-and-forth passes all the way to the net where Distad dished it in on her backhand.
Teamwork makes the dream work on this Distad goal! 🤝 #U18WomensWorlds pic.twitter.com/dJBWbbCKAQ— USA Hockey (@usahockey) January 15, 2023
Halfway through the third period, Shattuck-St. Mary's forward Allie Lalonde (Irvine, Calif. / Northeastern) skated through the zone and shot high glove-side to give Team USA yet another goal. Fanale then tacked on an empty-net goal in the final minutes of regulation.
ALEXANDRA LALONDE @usahockey MAKING IT 4-0🚨🇺🇸#U18WomensWorlds pic.twitter.com/q2Xt0iTADV— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) January 15, 2023
With a final score of 5-0, this is the first time that the Americans have won bronze at the tournament. They previously have earned eight gold medals and six silver's. Team USA has won a medal at every tournament in the history of the IIHF U18 Women's Worlds.
The U.S. finishes the tournament with three wins (Sweden, Finland, Finland) and two losses (Canada and Sweden).
Goaltender Bergmann earned a 23-save shutout for the Americans. Ava Lindsay (Minnetonka, Minn. / Minnesota) earned the best player of the game award for Team USA. Pauliina Salonen earned the honor for the Finns.
Team USA is lead by head coach Katie Lachapelle, assistant coaches Lindsay Berman, Liz Keady Norton, Brianna Decker, goalie coach Sanya Sandahl, and general manager Kristen Wright.
Canada and Sweden will play for the gold medal later this afternoon.
USA 5, Finland 0
First period scoring — 1. USA, Joy Dunne (Elly Klepinger) 17:05
Penalties — None
Second period scoring — 2. USA, Sammy Taber (Maggie Scannell) 34:31 (sh); 3. USA, Kendra Distad (Lindzi Avar) 36:24
Penalties — USA, Annelies Bergmann (tripping - served by Samantha Taber) 32:19
Third period scoring — 4. USA, Allie Lalonde (Ava Lindsay) 50:29; 5. Fanale (Dunne, Klepinger) 57:58 (en)
Penalties — USA, Ellah Hause (holding) 45:37; FIN, Sofia Kari (boarding) 52:41
Shots on goal — USA, 40 (17: 10: 13); FIN, 23 (3: 10: 10)
Players of the game — USA, Ava Lindsay; FIN, Pauliina Salonen