HERNING, Denmark — Canada has had to find another way to claim a world title in women’s hockey after its Olympic triumph earlier this year and gold medal at the world championships a year ago.
This edition was a work in progress throughout the tournament in Denmark, but Canada played their best game of the tournament in Sunday’s 2-1 win over rivals USA in the final.
The Canadians won their third major international title in the space of a year after beating the United States 3-2 for Olympic gold in February in Beijing, and 3-2 in overtime in the championship final. world 2021 just over a year ago.
” It was not easy. It looked very different from our Olympic victory and our last world championship victory, but I think we are really reassured when things are not going so well that we can find different ways to win, ”said the Canadian striker Brianne Jenner. “We fought and got the job done.”
After a quiet tournament in the scoring department, Jenner scored two second-period goals less than a minute apart on Sunday.
Goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens was the calm eye of the storm in the third as the USA pushed furiously to tie.
The Canadians were outshot 12-6 in the third period, but blocked shots with abandon in the final two minutes when the USA pulled out Nicole Hensley for an extra forward.
Desbiens made 20 saves for the win, while Hensley stopped 17 shots.
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“I think going into this tournament we felt confident that we were the best team in the world,” said Canadian forward Sarah Nurse.
“We really wanted to show it. Winning three gold medals in one year is so special and I don’t think we will be able to do it again, but it shows how well our program has worked, where we are today.
Canada lost 5-2 in the preliminary round to an American team that looked set to reclaim female hockey supremacy.
Canada and the United States both fired 18 players from their Olympic rosters.
The Americans seemed to absorb the roster changes faster than the Canadians, who juggled forward combinations throughout the tournament in an effort to find chemistry.
Canada’s execution in an 8-1 semi-final victory over Switzerland indicated that the defending champions were finding their form.
But the United States remained undefeated in the final with a plus-47 goal differential to plus-22 for Canada, as Canada boasted of the high-octane offense in Beijing.
“What we were able to accomplish at the Olympics was extremely special,” Jenner said. “Coming six months after the Olympics, being able to train for a summer, focus and try to defend a world title is not easy.
“I think it was one of the toughest and we feel pretty good we found a way to do it.”
In addition to moving the puck faster and cleaner than in the loss to the United States, Canada also defended more tenaciously in the penalty area between and below the face-off spot.
Canada’s power play went 0-2 in the first period before Jenner converted a third chance in the second. The United States went 1 for 3 with a power play in the back half of the game.
American forward Abby Roque, who scored her fourth goal of the tournament on the power play with less than a minute left in the second period, accused the Canadians of diving.
“I think they have a lot of players diving,” Roque said. “I think it’s ridiculous. That’s not the way to play hockey. We play a hard and disciplined game. This is how we are.
“We want to play physically like hockey should be and they have a lot of players jumping the boards.”
Canada and the United States have met in the final of all but one world championship since the inaugural tournament in Ottawa in 1990.
The United States won five consecutive world titles, as well as Olympic gold in 2018, before the Canadians went toe-to-toe last year in the tug of war that has been their rivalry.
“We have to find a way to turn the script around,” USA captain Kendall Coyne Schofield said.
Jenner’s nine goals in Beijing equaled an Olympic tournament record, but the veteran did not score at the world championship until Saturday’s semi-final.
“I think my shooting percentage wasn’t great earlier in the tournament, but I kept thinking to myself if you create chances and have good habits and do something positive when you’re there. , when you work hard sometimes you get rewarded in the end,” she said.
The 2021 World Championship has been postponed to August due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The International Ice Hockey Federation first introduced a top-level women’s championship in the same year as the Olympics, condensing three major tournaments into just over 12 months.
“It’s not normal,” said Canadian head coach Troy Ryan, who will coach the Canadians through to the 2026 Olympics.
“I don’t think you usually get three times to get to the top. It can be exhausting. I feel for this group. They found sand. They are definitely exhausted. You can see it emotionally. They are exhausted from trying to reach their highest level three times. They deserve so much credit for sticking to this.
The 2023 Women’s Championship will take place in Canada in an as yet unannounced city, followed by the United States which will host it in 2024. Canada and the United States will also face off in a Rivalry Series of seven matches this winter.
The 10-country field in Denmark was minus Russia after it was banned by the IIHF from international tournaments for that country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Czechia reached the last four and the podium for the first time on Sunday by beating Switzerland 4-2 for the bronze medal. The Czechs were coached in Denmark by Carla Macleod of Calgary, a former Canadian defenseman.