2024 Worlds Gold Medal Recap: USA Drops OT Heartbreaker to Canada

Canada is golden again at the 2024 Worlds following one of the best USA-Canada games in recent memory.

2024 Worlds Gold Medal Recap: USA Drops OT Heartbreaker to Canada
Danielle Serdachny celebrates her overtime golden goal. Photo courtesy of the IIHF.i

The United States lost a heartbreaker to Canada in the gold medal game yesterday, 6-5 in overtime. The surprisingly high-scoring affair ended following a costly penalty, as Canada's power play clicked at the right moment to send them home with their 13th World Championship gold medal.

Canada had a much faster start. They got several good looks early, but Aerin Frankel stood tall in net. However, Canada’s pressure finally paid off at 6:32, as a purposeful Erin Ambrose shot redirected past Frankel to give them an early 1-0 lead.

However, Laila Edwards ensured the Canadian lead didn’t last long. Exactly 100 seconds later, she continued her outstanding tournament by rifling home a Taylor Heise pass off a delayed Jocelyne Larocque penalty.

The goal woke the U.S. up, and they started getting a few more chances. Their best came off a 2-on-1 with Kendall Coyne Schofield and Alex Carpenter, but Carpenter couldn’t quite corral the pass to poke it past Desbiens while crashing the net.

Canada got the game's first power play in the final minutes when Kelly Pannek got called for tripping. However, their power play continued to struggle. It was their 16th straight failed opportunity, and they had not scored with the advantage since the first game. 

An exciting first period ended with the score knotted at one, with Canada holding a significant 13-6 shot advantage despite the U.S. starting to pick up their pace following the tying goal. Overall, both teams got multiple grade-A chances, and the score could’ve been much higher had it not been for both goalies making great saves.

The U.S. had more jump in the second, but Canada struck first again. Julia Gosling ripped a Jaime Bourbonnais pass past Frankel just over three minutes in to retake the lead.

However, after the goal, the U.S. continued to get more shots on goal. Finally, Megan Keller tied the game at two just past the halfway point. Hannah Bilka made a great pass following a smart play to hold onto the puck until Keller could catch up, and Keller made no mistake. However, it's a goal Desbiens likely wants back, as it barely squeaked through her body.

The U.S. then got their first official power play a few minutes later after Danielle Serdachny slashed Coyne Schofield’s stick out of her hands. They landed a few shots on goal and had some great looks but couldn’t convert.

After the penalty expired, the U.S. kept the pressure up. Finally, the fourth line had an excellent shift with tons of sustained offensive pressure, and they changed on the fly for the first line. Alex Carpenter managed to get lost in coverage in the slot, and Coyne Schofield found her from behind the net. Despite three Canadian defenders converging on her, Carpenter rifled a shot past Desbiens to give the Americans their first lead. 

Unfortunately for the U.S., it was time for the Captain Clutch show not long after. Marie-Philip Poulin sent a ridiculous shot bar-down to tie the game at three with just over a minute remaining. It was her first goal of the tournament.

The U.S. got another power play when Jocelyne Larocque went for hooking with 10.4 seconds remaining, but they couldn’t get another before the period expired. So, the teams headed back to the locker room tied at three, with Team USA holding a slight 17-16 shot advantage after being the better team for most of the period.

The Americans couldn’t convert on the remainder of their power play to open the third. The teams then traded chances before the U.S. got another power play over seven minutes in when Poulin got called for an illegal hit on Britta Curl. Poulin was not happy, but she was probably lucky it was only two minutes because it looked high from the angle the broadcast showed.

Not to be outdone by Poulin, Hilary Knight scored her own big goal near the end of the power play. A Caroline Harvey shot bounced off the end boards, and Knight whacked it home from right outside the crease to give the U.S. a 4-3 lead. That said, for fans familiar with her game, one look at Poulin’s face from the box gave the sense that was not the last you’d heard from her.

An unfortunate bounce tied the game for Canada again at 10:46. Emily Clark appeared to be trying to make a pass from behind the goal line, but it bounced off Harvey’s skate and through Frankel to knot the game at four.

A few minutes later, Poulin made good on that sinking feeling she put in the hearts of Team USA fans. Somehow, she got enough time and space to take three whacks at a puck inside the crease before finally getting it through Frankel to retake the Canadian lead. 

Luckily for the U.S., the theme of about two minutes before a tying goal was scored continued. Harvey made up for the fourth Canada goal by sneaking behind their defenders and sending a great behind-the-net feed from Lacey Eden home. 

The U.S. nearly retook the lead in the waning minutes, but Ella Shelton made perhaps the save of the game to keep it tied.

Naturally, 60 minutes was not enough to decide this one. The teams headed back to the locker room tied at five, with Canada holding a 29-23 shot advantage. Ten goals in this game were rather unexpected, but it made for an all-timer in a rivalry filled with incredible games.

Overtime started with the sold-out crowd’s anxiety palpable through the broadcast. Neither team got many chances until Poulin got a breakaway about three minutes in. It felt like the game was about to end there, but she missed the net.

Just seconds later, the U.S. took an avoidable too many players penalty, and it proved costly. After doing a good job of killing most of it, Serdachny buried one at the tail end of the power play to spoil the U.S. hopes of a repeat gold medal.

Overall, while not the result the Americans hoped for, this was a thrilling game between the best teams in women's hockey. It is rare to see a USA-Canada game so high-scoring, but it wasn’t due to the goaltenders playing poorly. Each team just got that many grade-A opportunities, coming on a mix of pure skill and defensive breakdowns. It’s unfortunate that it ended on such an avoidable mistake, but that seems to be how these things go. Still, this game will go down as one of the best in hockey’s greatest rivalry, which is no small feat.