The U.S. Women’s National Team defeated Canada 6-3 to capture the gold medal in the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship Sunday night at the CAA Centre, claiming its 10th world championship gold medal and USA Hockey’s first since 2019.
Hilary Knight (Sun Valley, Idaho) became the first player in Women’s Worlds history to reach 100 career points after finishing the game with a hat trick and 101 points. Her 5-on-3 power-play goal with 3:10 to go in the third period served as the game-winner to make it 4-3, and the Team USA captain added her second just 27 seconds later during a 5-on-4 opportunity when she tipped home a shot from Caroline Harvey (Salem, N.H.).
Cayla Barnes (Eastvale Calif.) added the insurance empty-net goal for the 6-3 final.
“I’m so proud of our group and happy for the entire team and staff,” said John Wroblewski (Neenah, Wis.), head coach of the 2023 U.S. Women’s National Team. “The losing streak to Canada had to end at some point, and I was glad that it was today. You can’t draw up that script at the end there, how quickly it turned in our favor. We’re honored to have represented our country on this stage and to be bringing home gold.”
Aerin Frankel (Chappaqua, N.Y) made key stops in the game, and closed the door on Canada captain Marie-Philip Poulin in the third period before Knight’s two goals. Frankel finished the night with 24 saves.
Team USA was trailing Canada 3-2 entering the third period, and it was Harvey who knotted the game at 3-3 at 5:40 into the final frame.
The defender walked into the slot and fired a wrister that beat Canadian netminder Ann-Renee Desbiens. Harvey finished the tournament with the most points (14) of all players, scoring four goals and recording 10 assists, along with a plus-14 rating, and having recorded a point in all seven games.
Team USA had fallen into an early 1-0 hole at 6:23 into the game when Poulin scored on a 5-on-3 power-play, but Frankel then made a series of key saves on the rest of the penalty kill to keep the U.S. within a goal.
Current Golden Gopher Abbey Murphy (Evergreen Park, Ill.) tied the game at 1-1 with 1:59 remaining in the first period when she held the puck with Alex Carpenter (North Reading, Mass.) crashing the net alongside her before ripping a shot past Desbiens. Carpenter earned an assist on the play after leading the breakout with Murphy, who finished the tournament with a goal in three consecutive games.
Canada struck at 5:03 into the second period to take a 2-1 lead via a goal from Brianne Jenner. The U.S. responded less than four minutes later when former Gopher star Amanda Kessel (Madison, Wis.) forced a turnover at the defensive blue line and fed Knight for the game-tying goal on a 2-on-1 rush. Jenner then quickly put Canada back in front, 3-2, on a redirection 1:09 later.
The U.S. has now won 10 world championship gold medals (2023, 2019, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013, 2011, 2009, 2008, 2005).
Former Gopher players Lee Stecklein (Roseville, MN), Kelly Pannek (Plymouth, MN), and Taylor Heise (Lake City, MN) are on the U-S roster. Minnesota-Duluth star Gabby Hughes (Lino Lakes, MN) and Cornell star Rory Guilday (Minnetonka, MN) are also members of Team USA.
NOTES: Hilary Knight was Team USA’s Player of the Game with three goals … The U.S. went 2-for-4 on the power play and was 3-for-4 on the penalty kill … Head Coach John Wroblewski became the first head coach in USA Hockey history to lead both men’s and women’s national team to a gold medal (2023 – Women’s World Championship; 2017 – Under-18 Men’s World Championship).