In claiming their second-consecutive gold medal at the IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Hockey Championships, the Canadian squad has found a new hero.
Karly Heffernan, whose club team is Edge School in the Junior Women’s Hockey League, scored at 58 seconds into overtime to bring Canada the gold. Assisted by Whitby Wolves star Hanna Bunton, Heffernan became the next in an unbroken narrative of Canadian hockey heroes.
What made the victory so much sweeter for the Canadian squad was the fact that the United States did not allow one goal during the preliminary round. For most of the game, it looked as if the crowd in Heinola, Finland would see the shutout streak continue against a talent-heavy Canadian roster.
Jennifer Ryan of the United States scored at the 18:04 mark of the first period. Assists were credited to Katherine Schipper and Amy Menke. With Canadian veteran Halli Krzyzaniak sitting in the penalty box on a tripping call, said goal was logged on the power play. In the first frame, the US outshot Canada by an astounding 20-1 mark.
Both squads played a very tight defensive game in the second stanza as the score remained 1-0. Despite Canada not being able to score on American netminder Sidney Peters, the squad managed to outshoot the US by a 10-9 mark.
With two minutes left in the third period, a sense of panic emanated as Canada still faced a 1-0 shortfall. Catherine Dubois (who competes for the Cegep Limoilou in suburban Montreal, Quebec scored with 13 seconds remaining in the period to force overtime. As the momentum shifted in Canada’s favor, the red and white made sure that overtime did not have to go to a shootout.
Only 58 seconds into overtime, Heffernan logged the score as Canada claimed its third gold medal in the history of the event.
Of note, Kimberly Newell was equally heroic between the pipes as she stopped 40 shots from the United States. Her poise was the key to victory as she remained solid. With Newell joining the Tigers of Princeton University, there is no doubt that she will provide more heroic performances.