Maddi Wheeler added an IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship silver medal to her ever-going collection of hockey accolades on Thursday afternoon in Bratislava, Slovakia.
The 17-year-old Erinsville native and her Team Canada teammates battled hard for 77 minutes in the gold medal game in their hopes of repeating as champions before ultimately falling 2-1 to the United States in overtime.
Canada trailed by a goal into the third period until Sarah Paul scored on the power-play to help push the game into overtime.
Both teams had their share of chances with ample power-play opportunities, but both goalies stood tall until the US finally broke through.
“Obviously it’s tough for us to leave here without the gold, but there’s a lot of really good things happening with this group,” Canada’s head coach Howie Draper was quoted on the Hockey Canada website. “The group really came together; they were a really tight-knit group and there was a tremendous amount of support around the dressing room. Ultimately, that was the most important thing – that we could come together and do some great things. If we did that we can’t lose, no matter what the end result.”
With the win, the USA was able to flip the script on the Canadians. Last year in Japan it was Wheeler who scored the game winner in overtime to give Team Canada the gold medal victory.
These two foes meeting in the finals have become common place in this tournament, having met 12 times in the last 13 years.
In their previous meeting in this year’s tournament, Canada topped the US 2-1 in round robin play and was undefeated heading into the finals. Wheeler picked up an assist in that game, which would prove to be a precursor to the tense gold medal final later in the week.
Canada has now won eight silvers at the tournament to go with five gold medals.
Wheeler finished the tournament with a goal and two assists in five games played. She recorded a plus four plus/minus, with six penalty minutes and 10 shots on net.
She will now return to her Kingston Ice Wolves season with the PWHL as well as captain of the NDSS Golden Hawks in KASSAA league play. She has committed to the University of Wisconsin for next fall and will suit up for the school’s famed Badgers hockey program.