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Simms scores OT winner for U.S. against Canada at women's hockey worlds

Kirsten Simms USA Kirsten Simms - Images on Ice

UTICA, N.Y. — Kirsten Simms scored the biggest goal of her career in what she said was the fastest and most physical game she's ever played in.

Simms' overtime goal for the United States broke a scoreless deadlock in a 1-0 win over archrival Canada at the women's world hockey championship Monday.

The U.S. stayed unbeaten after four straight wins, clinched the top seed in its group and handed Canada its first loss of the tournament.

"Super-surreal moment," Simms said. "Still haven't totally processed it at all.

"Any time we go against Canada, it's going to be an intense game. Just how quick that puck moves up and down the ice and how you have to be kind of on the full 60 minutes is huge, but super-fun to play in."

Canada (3-0-1-0) will face Sweden (3-0-0-1) on Thursday in the only quarterfinal matchup determined Monday.

The top five teams in Group A and top three in Group B are quarterfinalists. The semifinals are Saturday and medal games Sunday.

Defending champion U.S. awaited the results of Tuesday's games, which would determine the third seed in Group B. Germany (3-0-0-0) was also assured a quarterfinal berth atop Group B.

Canadian forward Brianne Jenner tripped and down in the offensive-zone corner gave the Americans an odd-man rush in three-on-three overtime Monday.

Simms scored on a screened shot between Ann-Renee Desbiens' pads at 3:38 of OT in front of a jubilant sellout of 4,017 at the Adirondack Bank Center.

American goalie Aerin Frankel posted a 26-save shutout.

"For a one-nothing game, it was pretty incredible," U.S. captain Hilary Knight said. "It's the fastest game you'll ever see, U.S. versus Canada."

Canada wasted a stellar outing by goaltender Desbiens, who repelled 29 shots and weathered several storms, including five shots in overtime before she was beaten by Simms.

"She's unbelievable," Canadian captain Marie-Philip Poulin said. "She kept us in the game. Very happy for her and too bad I screened her on that last shot and I'm not happy with that.

"It is disappointing. You never want to lose, especially to the U.S."

Canada killed off a pair of penalties midway through the second period and went 0-for-3 on the power-play, including a chance with four minutes remaining in regulation.

"I didn't like our offence," Canadian head coach Troy Ryan said. "We did a good job in the second period starting to turn pucks over and we looked to transition, but we didn't make plays.

"When we're not playing our best offensively, we're just trying to score off the rush. That's more of how the U.S. plays than what we would play. We're much better if we're driving their defence back and getting some offensive zone possession time."

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

The game continued at a cracking, walloping pace the archrivals can produce in women's hockey.

"It was classic Canada-U. S.," Desbiens said. "The refs let us play five-on-five. It's the two best teams in the world, so you want to see that. A little more physical than we've seen in the past few games, but it was fun to be part of."

The U.S. doubled Canada 6-3 in last year's gold-medal game in Brampton, Ont., 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.

"It means a lot more to beat them than any other opponent," Frankel said.

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

China (0-1-1-1), Denmark (0-1-0-2) and Japan (0-0-1-2) chased the third and final quarterfinal berth in Group B. Germany plays China, with the Danes meeting the Japanese on Tuesday.

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


Canada needed a Sarah Nurse overtime goal to beat the Swedes in a quarterfinal last year in Brampton. Sweden is the highest-scoring team in Utica with 17 goals in four games.

"Going to overtime, that's not what we wanted," Poulin recalled. "We're going to have to put pucks deep and get a lot of pressure on them."

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