Canada is back on top as the gold medal victor of the 2021 IIHF Women’s World Championship. Led by captain Marie-Philip Poulin and Manitoba’s own Jocelyne Larocque (Ste. Anne), the Canadians beat arch-rival USA by a score of 3-2 in overtime, giving the country its first gold medal in the Women’s Worlds since 2012.
Despite giving up two first period goals and being outshot 32-25 in the game, Team Canada held its own and fought back from the two-goal deficit. Scoring the eventual game-winner was Poulin, who scored Canada’s third-straight goal, beating USA goaltender Nicole Hensley with a perfect shot just 7:22 into three-on-three overtime.
Despite the puck clearly hitting the crossbar and bouncing down into the net below before being swept away, the play continued back down the ice before the IIHF crew had a moment to review the play and sound the goal horn.
“I kind of knew that it was in, but when we heard that buzzer it was a great feeling,” Poulin said post-game “To do it at home, in Calgary, was very exciting.”
Setting up the play was Larocque, who earned the praise of teammate and fellow assist-giver on the play, Brianne Jenner.
“Jocelyne made a heads-up play and rimmed it around the boards,” Jenner said of Larocque’s play. “Normally, five-on-five, you kind of chip that out, but it’s three-on-three, so I just got going. If you see number 29 open, you just have to put it on her stick, and she does the rest. It was a beautiful shot.”
Although giving up two opening period goals to Alex Carpenter from the goalmouth, Canada bounced back with a Jenner power play tally just four minutes into the middle stanza. Then just two-and-a-half minutes later, Jamie Lee Rattray knotted the game up at twos with a redirection of a Larocque point shot. Despite various power play opportunities for both teams in the third period, neither the United States nor Canada could find the go-ahead tally until overtime.
Ann-Renee Desbiens once again looked sharp in net, picking up a 30-save victory on a stellar second, third and overtime period performance. Larocque finished the night a +2 with two assists in 29:15 of icetime, while fellow Manitobans Ashton Bell (Deloraine) and Kristen Campbell (Brandon) also received gold medals as contributing team members.
The win was Canada’s first gold medal in nine years, besting the USA, which had finished first five years in a row, earning eight of the past nine championships. The win was so meaningful that alternate captain Blayre Turnbull actually injured herself jumping in celebration. She returned on a stretcher during the medal presentation in time for ‘O Canada’.