U18 Women’s World’s: Canada vs Sweden Preview
Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team will look to defend its world title on Sunday in a duel against Sweden in the gold medal game of the 2023 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship.
Last Game of Each Team
Canada confirmed their place in the final, coming from behind against Finland to win 3-2 in extra time in Saturday’s semi-final match. Alex Law was the hero for the Canadians, leveling the game with 7:22 left in the third period, before scoring the game-winning goal after 7:32 in overtime. Abby Stonehouse was Canada’s other goalscorer, and Hannah Clark made 24 saves
Sweden put on quite a show for the approximately 2,122 fans in attendance at Östersund Arena for the semi-final match against USA. Thanks to a 2-1 victory that surprised the Americans, crowned seven times world champions, the Swedes advanced to the gold medal game for the first time since 2018. Mira Jungåker and Astrid Lindeberg hit the target, scoring in advantage digital in the second period, and Felicia Frank made 37 saves. This is the first time that the United States has not reached the final.
Last Meeting Between The Two Teams
Canada and Sweden met in the preliminary round Monday, a 4-2 victory for the Canadians. Caitlin Kraemer scored twice, while Law and Emmalee Pais also scored. Clark made 43 saves in the win, including 16 in the last frame, and Canada allowed just one goal on 14 shorthanded.
Clark defends the Canadian net brilliantly, as evidenced by her performance of 43 saves against the Swedes in the preliminary round and 24 blocked shots against the Finns while the presence in the final was at stake. The Oshawa, Ont., native has a 1.60 goals-against average (third in the tournament) and a .939 save percentage (second-most), allowing only three even-strength goals .
Frank is stunning in front of the Swedes cage. She made 37 saves against the United States and has a similar record to Clark (1.50 AVG and 0.939% ARR). The defenders scored 7 of the Swedes’ 19 goals in the tournament, including both goals in the semi-finals. And let’s not forget the seventh player (or rather the seventh player, in this case). Once again, a cheering crowd can be expected on Sunday as Sweden seek their first-ever women’s hockey gold medal on the international stage.
In eleven games against Sweden at the U18 Women’s Worlds, Canada has never been defeated.
Three Olympic gold medalists stood out against the Swedes in particular – Mélodie Daoust led the way with four points (3-1—4) in a 6-1 semi-final win in 2009, while fullbacks Brigette Lacquette (1-3-4) and Erin Ambrose (0-4-4) helped the Canadians win 8-0 in the preliminary round in 2010.
This is the second time that Canada and Sweden have faced each other in the final of a major international tournament: at the 2006 Olympic Games, the Swedes caused an upset by defeating the United States in the semi-finals, but the Canadians won gold 4-1, the second of four consecutive Olympic titles.
This article is originally published on hockeycanada.ca