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U.S. Women Lose Overtime Heartbreaker At World Hockey Championships

By Karen Price | Aug. 31, 2021, 10:45 p.m. (ET)

Brianna Decker faces off against Brianne Jenner (Canada) in the 2021 IIHF Women's World Championship gold-medal game on Aug. 31, 2021 in Calgary, Canada.


When it comes to women’s hockey, the rivalry between the U.S. and Canada goes back to the origins of the sport. 

The U.S. won the first-ever Olympic gold medal. Canada won the next four, until Team USA reclaimed the title in 2018. In the world championships, the two teams have traded titles to the point where the matchup always promises to be a hard-fought battle until the very end.

On Tuesday, the two teams met for the gold medal at the IIHF Women’s World Championship for the 19th time and the game lived up to every expectation.

Including overtime.

As has been the case so many times when the two teams have met for a major title, this one wasn’t decided in regulation. 

Even in overtime, it wasn’t immediately clear what happened.

Canada appeared to score the game winner seven minutes into the three-on-three overtime period but play continued. It wasn’t until moments later that captain Marie-Philip Poulin’s wrist shot, with her quick release that sent the puck top shelf glove side, was ruled official for a 3-2 win. 

It was Canada’s first win in the women’s world championship since 2012, ending the U.S. streak of five straight world titles, and its record 11th overall, coming just seven months before the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. 

Coming into Tuesday, the U.S. had won the last five women’s world championships but Canada was on a tear with a six-game winning streak, including a 5-1 victory over the U.S. in the preliminary round.  

As much as Canada dominated that game, however, the U.S. was the better team to open the game. Alex Carpenter, a 2014 Olympic silver medalist who was left off the 2018 team, scored for the third game in a row to kick things off midway through the first period for the U.S. A tough opponent in front of the net, she chipped in a loose puck to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead then did it again to make it 2-0, this time on the power play. It was her fifth goal in the last three games. 

Canada flipped the tables in the second period, beginning with a strike by Brianne Jenner. Jamie Lee Rattray tied it after redirecting a shot from the point by Jocelyne Larocque. The game was deadlocked after two.

“I think it’s going to be an all-out battle,” she said before the third period. “We knew after the first period that they were going to come out flying. We were just trying to weather the storm a little bit but I think we’re going to regroup and have a good push in the third.”

Karen Price

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic and Paralympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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