International Ice Hockey Federation

WW Top 25 Stories: #9

WW Top 25 Stories: #9

USA finally wins WW gold

Published 27.03.2015 19:11 GMT+1 | Author Andrew Podnieks
WW Top 25 Stories: #9
The American players celebrate their first Women’s World Championship in 2005. Photo: Soren Andersson / Bildbyran
9 April 2005. It was a psychological mountain as much as it was a question of talent to win Women’s Worlds gold.

Year after year the Americans played sensational hockey to advance to the gold-medal game – and year after year they lost to Canada in the final game.

The years were like pearls on an unwanted necklace – 1990, 1992, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004. The only victory that made it bearable was the gold in 1998 at the Nagano Olympics.

In 2005, Canada was the certain favourites as the Women’s Worlds played out in Linkoping and Norrkoping, Sweden. For starters, the aforementioned series of victories, including the previous year’s 2-0 win by Canada.

Second, Canada played quite literally flawless hockey leading up to the gold-medal game in Linkoping, winning all four games and outscoring its opponents by a 38-0 score. Not one goal allowed.

The U.S. looked nearly as impressive, winning their four games by a cumulative score of 27-4. Another all-North American final. But the mental edge to Canada.

The scoreless first period saw each team with a power play and the U.S. outshooting Canada, 15-7. The second period also passed without a goal, the Americans incurring the only penalty and the U.S. again taking more of the shots, 11-6.

The third period – again scoreless! – saw the Canadians take the only penalty, and again the U.S. held a decided edge in shots, 14-6. The only difference in the game was Kim St-Pierre, who was brilliant in goal for Canada while giving a clear demonstration of why the team had yet to allow a goal.

Chanda Gunn, however, less busy at the other end, still blocked everything that came her way, refusing to relinquish a goal that might well decide gold.

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This being a gold-medal game, teams went to the dressing room after the third for a full intermission, and the ensuing overtime would be 20 minutes, if necessary, and played four skaters a side.

For the first and still only time in IIHF history, a 20-minute, four-on-four was played in its entirety without a goal, forcing a penalty-shot shootout. Recall that in 2005 shootouts were five rounds, not the standard three of today.

Sarah Vaillancourt started things off with a goal for Canada, but Natalie Darwitz beat St-Pierre for the first time this tournament to tie it, 1-1. A miss by Hayley Wickenheiser and a goal from Angela Ruggiero gave the U.S. a lead, and the next three shooters all missed. When Krissy Wendell scored on the fourth U.S. shot, it gave her team an insurmountable 3-1 lead, ending the shootout early and giving the USA an historic Women’s Worlds gold medal.

Canada, which had not allowed a goal the entire tournament of game action play, had to settle for silver.

U.S. coach Ben Smith, meanwhile, the man behind the bench in Nagano, now had two gold medals for his neck as did five players from the 1998 Olympics: Cammi Granato, Angela Ruggiero, Shelley Looney, Katie King, and Jenny Potter (-Schmidgall).

The curse or jinx, or whatever it was, was over. The U.S. were world champions.

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of women's hockey in the IIHF, writer Andrew Podnieks is counting down the top 25 stories in women's international hockey history. One story each day will appear until the Number 1 story is unveiled the morning of the gold-medal game of the 2015 Women's Worlds in Malmo, Sweden, on April 4.

Earlier Top 25 Stories:
#10: Lightning strikes for Manon of the crease
#11: 15-year-old Martin leads Sweden to bronze
#12: Angela James cut prior to Nagano
#13: Amanda Kessel misses 2014/15 with concussion
#14: IIHF removes body-checking from women’s hockey
#15: Jenni Hiirikoski becomes first Euro two-timer
#16: Former NHLer Yashin leads Russian women to bronze
#17: Cammi Granato cut before Turin
#18: Visitors win twice in North American finals
#19: IIHF makes Women’s Worlds official for 1990
#20: Rogge issues challenge to women’s hockey
#21: IIHF goes to all-women officials
#22: Shannon Miller recruits Euros for NCAA
#23: IIHF introduces junior event for women
#24: Zorn a goalie and skater both
#25: Russia-Switzerland a dandy display in 2011


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