June 24th, 2024

Simms scores OT winner for U.S. in 1-0 decision over Canada in women’s world hockey

By Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press on April 8, 2024.

Canada goaltender Ann-Renee Desbiens (35) makes a save against United States' Hilary Knight (21) during first period hockey action at the IIHF Women's World Hockey Championship in Utica, N.Y., Monday, April 8, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christinne Muschi

UTICA, N.Y. – The United States defeated Canada 1-0 overtime at the women’s world hockey championship Monday to stay unbeaten and claim the top seed in their group.

Kirsten Simms scored the OT winner at 3:38 in front of a jubilant sellout of 4,072 at the Adirondack Bank Center.

The U.S. had an odd-man rush when Canadian forward Brianne Jenner went down in the corner of three-on-three overtime. Simms shot the puck between the pads of Canadian goalie Ann-Renee Desbiens.

American goalie Aerin Frankel posted a 26-save shutout and Desbiens turned away 29 of 30 in the loss.

Group A’s top five seeds and the top three in Group B make Thursday’s quarterfinals. The semifinals are Saturday and medal games Sunday.

Canada (3-0-1-0) will face Sweden, the No. 2 team in Group B, in Thursday’s quarterfinals. The Canadian needed an overtime goal by Sarah Nurse to beat the Swedes in a quarterfinal last year in Brampton, Ont.

Sweden (3-0-0-1) is the highest-scoring team in Utica with 17 goals in its four games.

The U.S. (4-0-0-0) awaits Tuesday’s games to know Group B’s No. 3 seed and their quarterfinal opponent. China (0-1-1-1), Denmark (0-1-0-2) and Japan (0-0-1-2) were all chasing that spot Tuesday.

Third to fifth in Group A was still to be decided between Czechia (1-0-0-2), Finland (1-0-0-3) and Switzerland winless in three games. The Czechs meet the Swiss on Tuesday.

In other games Monday, Germany (3-0-0-0) blanked Sweden 1-0 to secure top seed in Group B, and Finland defeated the Swiss 5-2.

The U.S. outshot Canada 12-6 in the first period. The Canadians turned the tables 11-6 in the second with no goals from either side heading into the third.

Hannah Bilka’s illegal hit penalty on defender Renata Fast put Canada on the power play with four minutes remaining in regulation, but the Canadians couldn’t convert.

Hilary Knight went to her backhand on a partial short-handed breakaway but Desbiens repelled the U.S. captain.

Desbiens was tested early by the Americans in overtime. She turned away six shots before she was beaten by Simms.

Canada had power-play time to end the second and start the third because of a Simms high stick and Hayley Scamurra’s delay of game. The U.S. killed off both, however.

Canada weathered a pair of illegal hit penalties to Danielle Serdachny and Jocelyne Larocque midway through the second period. Desbiens stopped Bilka from close range with her left pad on the second American power play.

The host team came at Canada in waves in the opening period, but the latter didn’t concede territory below the faceoff circles, and Desbiens was on her game.

The tone of Monday’s game was set nine seconds after the opening faceoff when Fast sent U.S. forward Kendall Coyne flying into the corner boards.

The game continued at a fast and physical pace the archrivals can produce.

Scamurra and Canadian defender Ella Shelton went to the box together in the first period when Scamurra took exception to Shelton’s handling of Abbey Murphy behind Canada’s net.

The U.S. doubled Canada 6-3 in last year’s gold-medal game in Brampton after Canada defeated the Americans for gold in the 2021 and 2022 world championship, and the Olympic Games in Beijing.

Canada fought back from a three-game deficit to win four in a row and take this winter’s Rivalry Series between the two countries.

Nineteen of Canada’s 23 players hail from the new Professional Women’s Hockey League in its first season.

On its 25-player roster – two were named as alternates – the U.S. has 11 in the PWHL. Defender Savannah Harmon and Scamurra play for Ottawa.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 8, 2024.

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