International Ice Hockey Federation

U.S. wins 4-0, going for gold

Swedes put up a fight but come up short

Published 14.01.2016 18:59 GMT-5 | Author Andrew Podnieks
U.S. wins 4-0, going for gold
ST. CATHARINES, CANADA - JANUARY 14: United States' Natalie Heising #25 celebrates her goal during semifinal round action against Team Sweden at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women's World Championship. (Photo by Francois Laplante/HHOF-IIHF Images)
There were moments when Sweden skated with the Americans, and the goaltending of Ellen Jonsson was superb, but in the end the U.S. was just too strong.

The 4-0 win puts the Americans, last year's champions, in the gold-medal game tomorrow night, awaiting the winner of tonight's Canada-Russia game. Sweden will play the loser of that game for the bronze medal.

Natalie Heising had a goal and an assist for the U.S. while goaltender Ellen Jonsson was sensational, stopping 39 of 43 shots.

"Now that we're there, we're excited, and we want to win the gold," Heising said. "We knew Sweden was going to be a tough game. They lost only 3-1 Canada in an exhibition game before the tournament, but we came out hard and played well."

Although the United States scored the only goal of the opening period, the Swedes played with impressive calm. The goal came on a giveaway in the Swedish end, culminating with a nice shot by Heising over the glove of Jonsson.

"I remember coming out on my shift, saw the play develop, and tried to get in the passing lane. I managed to pick it off, and there was that moment where everything seemed to stop, and I realized I was alone with the goalie, and I put it away."

That was the only significant error by the Swedes. They moved the puck smartly and were full measure all over the ice except in the U.S. end where the Americans proved just too good at keeping goalie Beth Larcom nicely protected.

There was one lapse by the U.S., and it came soon after Heising’s goal. Sara Hjalmarsson got off a quick shot by the side of the goal, and Larcom had to be sharp to make the save.

For most of the second period the Swedes looked like they might be able to tie the game. They skated well and moved the puck well, and got great goaltending from Larsson. She made huge saves on Grace Zumwinkle and Taylor Heise in close, and Rebecca Gilmore fanned on a tap-in.

Two late goals by the U.S., though, both the result of giveaways, sealed their fate. Kajsa Armborg made a bad decision at centre ice on a power play, and Sydney Brodt took full advantage, skating in alone and sliding the puck between Jonsson’s pads at 13:10 to make it 2-0.

Then, with only 10.2 seconds left in the period, Emily Oden was left alone in front and she lifted a shot into the open side to put the game out of reach.

The Americans were relentless and poured it on in the third. Taylor Heise made it 4-0 at 6:30 on a nice wraparound and refused to concede even the simplest shots to their oppnents. In the end, they were just too good all the way through.