April 25, 2011
• IIHF Championship | USA Hockey | Hockey Canada
ZURICH, Switzerland – Five Badgers, including junior Hilary Knight (Sun Valley, Idaho) who scored the game-winning goal, powered the U.S. Women’s National Team to a 3-2 overtime win over Canada in the gold-medal game at the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Women’s Championship Monday afternoon.
The victory marked the third-straight for the U.S. and the fourth time in the last five world championships that the Americans have left with gold. Team USA now own four gold medals (2005, 2008, 2009, 2011) and nine silvers (1990, 1992, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2007) at the IIHF world women’s championships.
In a game that saw several momentum changes, the teams headed into the first intermission locked in a 1-1 tie. The U.S. held a 2-1 lead after two periods after Knight assisted a tally by Jenny Potter at 12:05. However, Canada sent the game to overtime with a power-play goal at the 16:04 mark of the third period. Knight’s game-winner then came at 7:48 of overtime.
Former Badger Jessie Vetter (Cottage Grove, Wis.) posted 51 saves as Canada narrowly outshot the U.S., 53-50.
With Knight’s two points, the UW junior finished the world championships as the scoring leader with 14 points. She recorded five goals and nine assists and tied for the best plus/minus rating in the tournament at plus-11.
Sophomore Brianna Decker (Dousman, Wis.) and senior Meghan Duggan (Danvers, Mass.) joined Knight among the tournament’s top five scorers. Decker’s 11 points (four goals, seven assists) placed her second, while Duggan was fifth with seven points (four goals, three assists).
Two former Badgers took home silver with Team Canada as Meghan Mikkelson (St. Albert, Alberta) and Bobbi Jo Slusar (Swift Current, Saskatchewan) represented their native Canada.
Mikkelson finished the tournament with a plus-10 plus/minus rating, while Molly Engstrom (Siren, Wis.) was plus-nine for the U.S. Among other statistical leaders, Decker’s 71.59 faceoff percentage was the second-best of the tournament. In goal, Vetter posted a 95.24 save percentage with a 1.28 goals against average.
Vetter and Decker joined Caitlin Cahow in being honored as the best U.S. players as voted on by the coaches, while Mikkelson picked up the same honor for Canada. Mikkelson was also named the best defenseman of the tournament as selected by the directorate. Knight was named to the media all-start team to round out the awards.
Finland defeated Russia, 3-2 in overtime, in the IIHF world women's championship bronze-medal game earlier on Monday.