In the end, Canada incurred two quick penalties, giving the Americans a 5-on-3 for 49 seconds. Knight scored at 16:50 on a two-skater advantage and again at 17:17 with one extra skater. She had scored earlier, and these goals counted as her 99th, 100th, and 101st career points in World Women’s competition.
The gold also gives Knight nine career, tying Danielle Goyette for most all time. “I just wanted to pass [Tom] Brady,” Knight quipped. It is also her 13th career medal, tying Hayley Wickenheiser for most all time as well.
It marked the third time she has scored the game winner in a WW gold game, after 2011 and 2017. It also marked the end of an extraordinary run for Canadian goalie Ann-Renee Desbiens, who lost at the senior level for the first time. Coming into the game she had a recod of 16-0 at Women’s Worlds and 6-0 at the Olympics.
“It takes a whole village to have one player be successful on the ice, and to have 25 players going at the same time is an incredible feat. We have so many great leaders in that room. I think that’s what’s so special about this collection of players. At times, I was telling them to calm down, pay attention to the little things. These are two great teams going to battle.”
“We always go back and forth with them,” lamented Canada’s captain, Marie-Philip Poulin. “It’s such a rivalry, but unfortunately we got caught with those two penalties, and that 3-on-5 broke our momentum. But this doesn’t define us as a group. We’re willing to do whatever it takes, but it didn’t happen tonight. It’s over now. We’ll take some time to reflect on this.”
Cayla Barnes added an empty netter with 1:58 remaining to leave no doubt. The win ends Canada’s three golds in a row at the 2021 and 2022 Worlds and the 2022 Olympics.
“We got gold and hopefully we can keep it going,” added Megan Keller. “It’s a huge honour, and we just continue to get better and better each tournament, each game, each camp. We have a great program, and it’s not even everybody that’s just here. It’s everybody who’s in Blaine; it’s everybody who’s in college, postgrads. We have a huge group, and we continue to push each other, challenge each other. The sky’s the limit for this group.”
“Our team has the mindset of never too high, never too low,” Abbey Murphy said. “So when we are down, we try to keep that energy up and it never goes low.”
The game was played in front of a wild and ecstatic sold-out crowd that oohed and aaawed all night long to the ebb and flow of play.
The Americans had more jump to the start as the Canadians looked a bit nervous and had trouble connecting with their passes. Lacey Eden almost opened the scoring four and a half minutes in. He bad-angle shot went off the back of Desbiens and landed on the goal line, and without knowing where it was Desbiens dropped to her knees and made the save.
The U.S. ran into penalty trouble soon after, giving Canada a two-skater advantage for 1:36. Seconds later, captain Marie-Philip Poulin connected on a bullet one-timer at 6:23 to give the hosts an early lead. But the U.S. was hardly fazed and continue to press. Canada did a good job containing their attack, but the Canadians misfired on passes and could do little better.
Inevitably, the teams virtually equally talented, the U.S. tied the game. The goal came off the rush as Abbey Murphy caried the puck over the Canada line, made a nice toe drag on Erin Ambrose, and wired a shot under Desbiens glove at 18:01, her fifth goal of the tournament.
The U.S. had an early power play in the second but this time Canada’s PK was perfect. Brianne Jenner put the home side ahead at 5:03 on a quick point shot that went all the way. Soon after, Frankel made her best save to keep it a one-goal game. Jocelyne Larocque fired a perfect pass to Rebecca Johnston in front, and she got a shot off that should have gone in but for Frankel’s quickness.
A poor line change by Canada led to the U.S.’s tying goal. Amanda Kessel drove down the right side and fed the puck to Hilary Knight. Although Desbiens made the initial save, Knight banged in the rebound to make it 2-2. It was her all-time record 99th career point in World Women’s play.
Canada went ahead for a third time, however, again off a quick wrister from the point. This time Renata Fast did the shooting, and Jenner, now in front of the goal, made the gorgeous tip at 9:39. Canada again had a chance to extend their lead but Frankel got her glove on another Jenner shot.
Was it enough? Of ocurse not. Early in the third Canada fialed to clear, and Caroline Harvey made them pay. She intercepted the puck, moved in, and wired a shot past Desbiens glove at 5:40 to the the game for a third time.
That set the stage for Knight’s heroics tonight. It also sets the stage for a wild dogfight to prepare for the Milan Olympic in February 2026.