ZUG, SWITZERLAND – JANUARY 14: USA players and staff pose for a celebration group photo with the championship trophy after a 5-1 gold medal game win against Czechia at the 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship at Arena Zug on January 14, 2024 in Zug, Switzerland. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/IIHF)

Stillwater’s St. Martin leads team with six goals

ZUG, Switzerland – The U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team defeated Czechia 5-1 in the gold-medal game of the 2024 IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship at Bossard Arena. It marks the ninth gold medal for the United States in the tournament all time.

“It is awesome to get the win,” said Liz Keady Norton (Boston, Mass.), head coach of the U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team. “I am really proud of our group. I thought that we worked hard the whole way and so it was nice for them to be rewarded.”

The United States finished the tournament with a 6-0-0-0 record to earn its first gold medal at the tournament since 2020.

Team USA jumped out to a two-goal lead midway through the first period with quick back-to-back goals.

First, Molly Boyle (Scituate, Mass.) sent a pass from the point to Ava Thomas (Downington, Pa.), who found Maggie Scannell (Wynantskill, N.Y.) at the backdoor with a wide-open net to bury the puck at 10:23 of the first period.

ZUG, SWITZERLAND – JANUARY 5: USA’s Layla Hemp #1 – 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship at Arena Zug on January 5, 2024 in Zug, Switzerland. (Photo by Andrea Cardin/IIHF)
ZUG, SWITZERLAND – JANUARY 5: USA’s MARTIN Josie St. #11 – 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship at Arena Zug on January 5, 2024 in Zug, Switzerland. (Photo by Andrea Cardin/IIHF)
ZUG, SWITZERLAND – JANUARY 5: USA’s Haley Box #25 – 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship at Arena Zug on January 5, 2024 in Zug, Switzerland. (Photo by Andrea Cardin/IIHF)

Haley Box (Eden Prairie, Minn.) then provided the U.S. with a 2-0 lead just 1:14 later when she tapped in a rebound from Morgan McGathey (Braintree, Mass.). Maggie Averill (Wayland, Mass.) picked up an assist on the goal.

The U.S. then shut down Czechia’s power-play unit near the end of the first frame, including 1:06 of five-on-three action. Team USA’s penalty kill also went to work in the second period, keeping Czechia scoreless on a five-minute power play.

Czechia would cut the U.S. lead to 2-1 at 18:43 in the middle stanza with a power-play goal from Adela Sapovalivova.

Kassidy Carmichael (Westford, Mass.) put the U.S. ahead, 3-1, 4:15 into the third period after she tipped a shot from Boyle out of midair. Taylor Senecal (Essex Junction, Vt.) earned an assist on the play as well.

Carmichael then struck again with her second goal of the period when she knocked home a rebound with 6:55 remaining in the game, extending the U.S. lead to 4-1. Thomas notched her second assist of the game on the play, while Mary Derrenbacher (Raleigh, N.C.) also picked up an assist.

Thomas added the exclamation point on the United States 5-1 victory with an empty-net goal with 1:49 remaining.

Layla Hemp (Chanhassen, Minn.) finished the game with 19 saves for the United States.

NOTES: Kassidy Carmichael was named Team USA’s Player of the Game… Team USA outshot Czechia 39-20 … Team USA was 0-for-3 on the power play, while Czechia was 1-for-4 … The U.S. won its ninth gold medal in the IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship, with the previous eight coming in 2020, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2011, 2009 and 2008 … The United States outscored its opponents 32-5 in the tournament … Josie St. Martin (Stillwater, Minn.) led the U.S. with six goals in the tournament.