US stun Canada to win women’s ice hockey world championship

Hilary Knight scores three times to secure the US a 6-3 win over archrival Canada.

USA ice hockey players celebrate after defeating Canada
The US celebrates winning its 10th women's world hockey championship gold medal and first in four years [Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY via Reuters]

Hilary Knight scored third-period power play goals 27 seconds apart as the United States stunned archrivals Canada 6-3 in Ontario to win the gold medal final of the women’s world ice hockey championships.

Canada had led 3-2 heading into the third period in the final on Sunday evening and were on course for a third successive world title but threw it away with sloppy play, taking two late penalties to gift the US a two-player advantage with 3:52 left.

Knight made them pay dearly for their mistakes, securing her nation’s 10th women’s world hockey championships gold medal and first in four years.

After Caroline Harvey had pulled the US level at 3-3 early in the third, captain Knight scored twice to complete her hat-trick having also netted in the second period.

Cayla Barnes scored into an empty net to close out the scoring while Abbey Murphy also had a goal.

Brianne Jenner had a hand in all three Canada goals, scoring twice in the second period and setting up Marie-Philip Poulin for another, but it was her tripping penalty, along with Claire Thompson’s delay of game, that provided the US with their golden opportunity.

“It takes a whole village for one player to be successful on the ice,” said Knight, the US all-time leading scorer at the world championships with 101 points. “It’s a huge honour to lead this team but the day-to-day business hasn’t changed.

“It’s hard to beat Canada. It’s harder to beat Canada in Canada.”

It was another dramatic end to one of the greatest rivalries in sport and, as usual, was played at a frenetic pace from the opening face-off to the final buzzer.

No country other than the US or Canada have won a world championship or Olympic gold.

Only once have the Canadians and Americans not played each other for the world title, when hosts Finland crashed the party in 2019 to take silver.

In the seven Olympic women’s finals, Canada have won gold five times with the other two titles going to the Americans.

Hockey Canada funding restored after assault scandal

Earlier on Sunday, Canada’s Minister of Sport Pascale St-Onge said the government will restore funding to Hockey Canada after the body met three conditions to make the sport safer.

Hockey Canada had its funding frozen last year when the national governing body came under scrutiny over its handling of sexual assault allegations.

The organisation, which has lost many corporate sponsors amid the scandal, has been under fire since news broke in last May of an alleged group sexual assault involving members of Canada’s 2018 world junior team and a subsequent out-of-court settlement paid for out of player registration fees.

The allegations against the unnamed players have not been proven in court.

In October, the federation announced the resignation of its president, Scott Smith, and its entire board of directors.

The three conditions needed to restore funding included becoming a full signatory to Abuse-Free Sport and a commitment to more frequently update the government on work to change a toxic culture. Hockey Canada must also review and implement the recommendations from an independent governance review.

“While federal financing is only a fraction of Hockey Canada’s revenues, I wish to reiterate that our funding is not a blank cheque,” St-Onge said, in a letter to Hockey Canada’s chair of the board of directors, Hugh Fraser, cited by local media.

St-Onge cited problems including “toxic behaviours, the trivialisation of sexual violence, and the culture of silence,” saying, “There is no reason why such situations should continue to plague hockey or any other sport.”

Fraser said in a Hockey Canada statement on Sunday that the restoration of funding “marks an important milestone for Hockey Canada in our journey to earn and maintain the trust of Canadians”.

He thanked the government for the “vote of confidence” while underscoring that “we still have work to do to change the culture of our sport”.

Source: News Agencies