Barnes sets record
Barnes sets record
3 gold at WW18, other notes to wrap up
Some 15 Canadians and Americans have won two, but earning a third will keep Barnes in the record books for a long time, indeed.
There are several other noteworthy stories to the just-concluded 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship in the Czech Republic. Perhaps at the top of the list is the goaltending. Four countries recorded at least one shutout (United States, Canada, Russia, Finland), and the 21 games produced only 88 goals, am indication that parity has arrived as the weaker teams improve. Further, North Americans are no longer able to score at will the way they used to.
Furthermore, individual players aren’t as dominant as they used to be. The four top scorers in the tournament each had only six points, well below the norm. In 2009, for instance, Amanda Kessel racked up a record 19 points.
One of those four leaders was Lisa Ruedi of Switzerland. She had one of the two hat tricks this event, scoring three times against Japan in the relegation round. The other three-goal game was recorded by Grace Zumwinkle of the U.S., who turned the trick in the semi-finals against Russia.
There was only one short-handed goal the entire tournament and, amazingly, it was the final goal of the WW18, an empty netter by Emily Oden against Canada, who had a man advantage and goalie Danika Ranger on the bench to create a two-man advantage while trying to tie the game in the final minute.
The highest attendance for a single game was Switzerland’s thrilling 3-2 win over the host Czechs during the round robin. Some 2,230 spectators passed through the turnstiles. In addition to this game, there were two other games that went to a shootout. Russia edged Sweden, 3-2, and the Swiss won a second game, this against Japan, after a total of 18 shots.
Two other games went to overtime. The Czechs beat Finland, 3-2, and Canada edged the U.S., 1-0, on a thrilling goal from Ashton Bell. This was the highlight of the round robin as both goalies – Alex Gulstene of the U.S. and Ranger of Canada – were sensational.
The emotional ending to the Russian 2-0 win over the Czechs accounted for a WW18 record of 113 penalty minutes by both teams (70 to Russia). It also produced two suspensions for Russians players, only the third time in WW18 history when the Disciplinary Committee has had to mete out additional punishment.
Incredibly, seven of the ten WW18 gold-medal games between the North Americans have been decided by two goals or less. Canada had a string of three wins in a row (2012-14) and now the Americans have won three of their own in succession (2015-17).
And lastly, since this was the final U18 tournament for many of the North Americans, fans will have an easy time following the players as they pursue an NCAA career.
U.S. coach Joel Johnson is surely delighted to have some seven players from his winning team committed to his University of Minnesota program. Canadian Amy Potomak is also going to U of M to play alongside her sister, Sarah.
Most American players have committed to an array of colleges, from Boston College (Barnes) to Penn State (Natalie Heising) to Colgate (Allyson Simpson).
Many Canadians are also accepting scholarship offers, but one who is opting to stay at home is goaltender Ranger, who instead will go to Nipissing University in her home town of North Bay, Ontario.
“[Former NHLer] Darren Turcotte is the head coach there,” Ranger explained. “He coached the U22’s last year, and he’s been watching me throughout my career. That’s pretty much what got me to commit there.” Ranger will study nursing but, of course, hopes to make the senior national team at some point.
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