Nine skaters record points for Team USA; Knoll leads the way with two goals and two assists
The United States Under-18 Women’s National Team advanced to the 2019 IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship gold-medal game with a 7-1 victory over Finland at Obihiro Forest Ice Arena on Saturday afternoon. Nine different skaters recorded points for Team USA in the win.
With the victory, the U.S. (4-0-0-0/W-OTW-OTL-L) will play for its fifth consecutive gold medal on Sunday (Jan. 13). A live stream will be provided on IIHF.com.
Team USA got things rolling early on, scoring just 2:43 into the contest to take a 1-0 lead.
After an aggressive forecheck in the offensive zone, Katy Knoll (Amherst, N.Y.) forced a turnover along the wall and fed a pass to Maddy Samoskevich (Sandy Hook, Conn.) in the high slot. Samoskevich connected with Hannah Bilka (Coppell, Texas), who was waiting for a pass along the goal line. Bilka then fed the puck back to Knoll, who fired a one-timer top shelf past a sprawling Erica Jaskari.
Following the tic-tac-toe goal, the U.S. continued to apply pressure in the offensive zone. Just 3:08 after Knoll’s game-opening tally, Bilka got a goal of her own with Knoll picking up the assist.
Knoll intercepted a pass in the neutral zone and fed Bilka, who flew into the offensive zone and streaked past the Finnish defenders before finishing the play with a shot over the glove of Jaskari.
The U.S. kept its foot on the gas, scoring a third goal just 2:18 later off the stick of Abbey Murphy (Evergreen Park, Ill.), with Makenna Webster (St. Louis, Mo.) picking up the lone assist. Murphy skated up the left side and executed a perfect give and go with Webster, who took a pass and fed it right back to Murphy, who was waiting at the back door to give the U.S. a 3-0 lead.
Following a goaltender change for Finland, Team USA continued to generate chances throughout the period before adding a power play goal with 24 seconds remaining in the stanza.
After a cross-crease pass from Knoll deflected off the skate of a Finnish defender, Dominique Petrie (Hermosa Beach, Calif.) jumped on the loose puck and shot it into the open net to put the U.S. up by four.
Neither team would capitalize in the second period, with the U.S. outshooting Finland 14-6.
Team USA opened the third period with a quick goal to make it a 5-0 game. Knoll picked up her fourth point of the night after a pass from Petrie sent her on a breakaway. Knoll deked to her backhand and finished top shelf for her second goal of the game and third of the tournament.
Shortly after, the U.S. would go on the power play and capitalize again with its sixth goal of the game. Sydney Bard (New Hartford, N.Y.) took a pass from Hadley Hartmetz (Phoenixville, Pa.) and poked it through the seam before Samoskevich fired a shot over the glove of Aino Laitinen.
Just 1:54 after the Samoskevich goal, Team USA added a seventh goal, off the stick of Webster. Kate Monihan (Moorestown, N.J.) streaked up the right side of the ice into the Finnish zone and fed Webster near the bottom of the circle. Webster proceeded to make a move to her backhand to get around a Finnish defender and finished top shelf over the blocker of Laitinen.
Finland went on to score its first goal of the game with 4:46 remaining in the third period to spoil the shutout for Skylar Vetter (Lakeville, Minn.). Vetter has allowed one goal over her last two contests and five total in four games at the tournament.
NOTES: Knoll was named U.S. Player of the Game … The U.S. outshot Finland, 36-18. For complete game statistics, click here … This year marks the 12th IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship tournament. Team USA, the four-time reigning world champion, captured gold in each of the first two years of the tournament (2008, 2009) and again in 2011, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. The team has taken home the silver medal in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014… Crowell is joined by assistant coaches Josh Sciba (Westland, Mich./Union College) and 2018 Olympic gold medalist Brianna Decker (Dousman, Wis.) … USA Hockey’s international council, chaired by Gavin Regan (Potsdam, N.Y.), vice president of USA Hockey, has oversight responsibilities for all U.S. national teams … IIHF.com is the streaming home of the 2019 Under-18 Women’s World Championship