For the 19th time in 20 IIHF Women’s World Championship tournaments, historic rivals
Canada and the United States dueled for tor the gold medal.
After sustaining a devastating setback in 2019 in which the Canadians had to settle for bronze, this year’s host country punched its ticket to the final game with a convincing 4-0 win over Switzerland at WinSport Arena in Calgary, Alta.
The Swiss, already missing arguably their best player Alina Muller due to an ankle injury, fought
valiantly, looking to continue their momentum from their comeback overtime win in the quarterfinals against ROC. But a second miracle wasn’t in the cards, and they were no match for the powerhouse canucks.
Canada outshot Switzerland 66-10, dominating from start to finish. Defender Renata Fast opened the scoring at 5:14 of the first period, pinching in from the blue line and converting a cross-ice pass from Brianne Jenner after an offensive faceoff win.
Just over a minute and a half later, Canada doubled its lead when Melodie Daoust unleashed a seeing-eye shot past Switzerland goalie Andrea Braendli as Natalie Spooner created a screen at the top of the crease.
In the second period, Daoust extended her tournament-leading totals to six goals and 12 points
respectively when the puck – fired by captain Marie-Philip Poulin – deflected off her foot and into the Swiss goal. The tally came about a minute after Braendli denied Daoust on a wraparound attempt.
Rebecca Johnston rounded out the scoring in the third period, sniping a power-play marker under Braendli’s glove for her second goal at this world championship.
Ann Renee Desbiens had to make just ten saves in earning the shutout. Switzerland’s best chance to get on the scoreboard came on a shorthanded breakaway by Noemi Rhyner. in the third period that was stifled by the backchecking efforts of Erin Ambrose. Historically, Switzerland has never scored against Canada in eight games. While discipline was an issue for Canada earlier in the tournament, the team played a relatively clean game on Monday night, taking just two minor penalties.
Renata Fast was named player of the game for Canada, and she, Daoust and Spooner received accolades as Canada’s three best players of the tournament, as selected by the coaches.
Earlier in the day, Team USA blanked Finland 3-0 to earn its 20th straight gold medal appearance at this tournament.
Despite Canada’s 5-1 win over its archrivals in the preliminary round, the team certainly didn't take its opponents lightly; in fact, the lopsided victory served as motivation for the Americans. The opposite was true in 2012, Canada’s most recent championship win, when the team was shellacked 9-2 by the United States n the preliminary round, only to avenge the humiliation by winning the gold medal game in overtime.
Five players remain from that 2012 team: Brianne Jenner, Rebecca Johnston, Jocelyne Larocque, Marie-Philip Poulin and Natalie Spooner. This group of veterans, complemented by the injection of youth on the Canadian roster, were looking to finally capture the country’s first gold medal in nine years.