Danielle Serdachny scores OT goal to lift Canada to 6-5 win over US in women’s hockey world final

UTICA, N.Y. (AP) — Slowed by an injury entering the women’s world hockey championships, it seemed only a matter of time for Marie-Philip Poulin — aka, Canada’s Captain Clutch — to make her presence felt.

That moment came on Sunday, with Poulin scoring twice in a breathtaking 6-5 overtime win over the United States that has the gold medal returning to Canada for a tournament-record 13th time.

“I hate to say you’re not trying to rely on it, expect it, but I know I’ve grown to expect it,” Canada coach Troy Ryan said. “Tonight was just a whole other level. I could see in her eyes every time we called her name that she was ready to go. It’s just special.”

In an outing sealed by Danielle Serdachny converting a rebound 5:16 into the extra period for a power-play goal, Poulin was the difference-maker in settling Canada in an outing filled with momentum shifts, three lead changes and neither team building more than a one goal lead.

With the U.S. surging in the second period by scoring twice less than six minutes apart to build a 3-2 lead, Poulin tied the game by roofing a shot off the crossbar with 1:02 left in the period.

“Happy it happened today,” said Poulin, who missed the final three games with her PWHL Montreal team leading up to the world championship break. “You want to win and I’m competitive and that’s part of it.”

The 33-year-old Poulin earned her nickname with gold medal-clinching goals in two Winter Games and the 2021 world championships — each time against the U.S.

Canada got payback by beating the Americans on home soil in central New York a year after a 6-3 loss to the U.S., who won their 10th tournament outside of Toronto.

What also stood out was the relentless pace and back-and-forth intensity that was once again on display in the 36th tournament meeting between the world’s top powers.

Poulin went so far as to search out U.S. captain Hilary Knight and give her a hug on the ice.

“We just said ‘that was unbelievable,‘” Poulin said.

And heart-breaking, from a U.S. perspective.

Though American defenseman Caroline Harvey had a goal and assist, she also had two pucks go in off her.

“No emotion. I mean, it’s not the result we wanted,” Harvey said. “Not what we came here for. Definitely very motivational. Pretty speechless at this point.”

Aside from losing on home soil, the the game ended with Serdachny’s power-play goal coming with 2 seconds left on a too-many-players penalty. Erin Ambrose’s shot from the left circle was stopped by Aerin Frankel, before Serdachny swept the loose puck into the net.

“Let me regroup after that one,” U.S. coach John Wroblewski said, following a three-second pause. “Instead of talking about the isolated events of tonight’s game, I think that normally that’s an interesting storyline. But I think the entity of an amazing 6-5 game is an amazing hockey game that took place.”

There’s much a young and somewhat untested American team, featuring four players making their tournament debuts, can learn from building toward the future.

“We were served a lesson tonight on that. And we’ll see if we can bank it and make our players appreciate what they (thought) that lesson was,” Wroblewski said.

Canada goalie Ann-Renee Desbiens, left, pushes the puck wide of the goal as United States forward Kendall Coyne Schofield (26) chases during the second period in the final at the IIHF Women’s World Hockey Championships in Utica, N.Y., Sunday, April 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

Julia Gosling, Erin Ambrose and Emily Clark also scored for Canada. Ann-Renee Desbiens finished with 19 saves, including kicking out her left skate to stop Harvey’s wrap-around attempt 2:40 into the overtime.

Knight, Laila Edwards, Megan Keller and Alex Carpenter also scored for the U.S., which finished the tournament 6-1.

Frankel, who set the single tournament record with four shutouts, finished with 24 saves.

The neighboring nations and women’s global powers showed once again why their rivalry is regarded as the fiercest and most intense in sports.

This marked the 10th time in 36 world championship meetings the teams played beyond regulation, and first in a gold-medal game since Poulin sealed a 3-2 OT victory in 2021. It also marked the highest-scoring game between the U.S. and Canada in any meeting since the Americans’ 7-5 win in the 2015 world championship gold-medal game.

The rivalry is so tight, both teams are 18-18 in world championship meetings, with Canada now holding a 104-103 edge in goals scored.

They went from a low-scoring, but fast-paced and riveting preliminary round meeting on Monday, which the Americans won 1-0 on Kirsten Simms’ overtime goal, to an offensive eruption.

Just when it appeared Canada had taken control with Poulin’s second goal, which she took four whacks at the puck from in close before tapping it in with 7:41 remaining, Harvey scored 2:39 later to tie the game at 5. Lacey Eden set up the goal from behind the net, where she fed Harvey for a one-timer from the left circle.

Canada’s Ella Shelton made a key stop with 3:21 left in regulation, when Edwards’ shot from the right of the net deflected off someone in front. The puck was dribbling toward the open left side, before Shelton reached out with her stick to deflect it just wide.

The pace of play and intensity was so high, even Harvey acknowledged having difficulty catching her breath.

“I was just on the edge of my seat myself and excited for what was to come, and at the end was devastating,” Harvey said.

Earlier in the day, Petra Nieminen scored the decisive shootout goal, and Finland defeated the Czech Republic 3-2 to win its 14th bronze medal — and first since 2021.

The International Ice Hockey Federation announced next year’s world championships will be played at Ceske Budejovice in the Czech Republic, the first time the nation has hosted the tournament.

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