Vernon’s Anne Cherkowski helped Canada win gold at the Women’s U18 World Hockey Championships in Japan. (Pursuit of Excellence photo)

Okanagan hockey product wins world championship

Anne Cherkowski scores equalizer in gold-medal final, Canada beats U.S. 3-2 in overtime

Vernon’s Anne Cherkowski can add ‘world champion’ to her hockey résumé.

For the first time in five years, Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team won gold at the International Ice Hockey Federation U18 Women’s World Championship, defeating the United States 3-2 in overtime on Sunday in Obihiro, Japan.

Maddi Wheeler (Erinsville, Ont.) drove hard to the net and jammed home her own rebound just 1:34 into overtime, giving Canada its fifth world title and first since 2014.

“I picked the puck up in the neutral zone, Coopsy [Kendall Cooper] passed it off to me. We were on a 4-on-3 power play so I had some space,” said Wheeler to Hockey Canada after. “I drove wide and picked up my own rebound. We had a good net drive, so it was wide open.”

Cherkowski forced overtime, tying the game 2-2 with less than nine minutes remaining, set up by Julia Gosling (London, Ont.) and Pursuit of Excellence teammate Danielle Serdachny (Edmonton).

RELATED: Anne Cherkowski of Vernon scores once as Canada advances

Canada jumped out to an early lead just under eight minutes in when Serdachny picked up the rebound of an Alexie Guay (Magog, Que.) shot from the point. Gosling also recorded an assist on the goal.

The United States tied the game late in the second period before taking a 2-1 lead just over six minutes into the third.

“We are incredibly proud of our team’s effort and our athletes’ ability to overcome adversity when we found ourselves trailing in the game,” said head coach Howie Draper of Edmonton. “It’s a great feeling to win a world championship and bring a gold medal back to Canada, and I couldn’t be more proud of our athletes and staff for this amazing accomplishment.”

Goaltender Raygan Kirk (Ste. Anne, Man.) finished with 25 saves in the win and earned tournament Most Valuable Player honours.

Following the gold medal game, the IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship awards recipients were announced. Guay was named Top Defenceman and earned a spot on the all-star team, while Gosling, Serdachny and Kendall Cooper (Burlington, Ont.) were named the top three players for Canada.

Cherkowski and Serdachny teamed up to get Canada to the gold-medal match with a 4-3 overtime semifinal win against Team Russia.

“Julia [Gosling] dropped it down to the corner and Anne [Cherkowski] pinned the girl against the wall, so I just saw the opportunity to walk [out to the front of the net],” said Serdachny. “Their defence was in front of the net, and I just saw an opening and shot it.

“I think we all felt pretty nervous but we all had trust in each other that we could do it and we could win. Everyone was pretty excited [to get the win].”

Kirk turned aside 10 shots in the win.

Cherkowski is expected to arrive at Kelowna Airport around 9:30 p.m. Monday.



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Kelowna reopens beach volleyball, new pickleball courts

The City of West Kelowna is asking residents to maintain safe distancing

RDCO announces spring poetry contest winners

The district received 70 poems starting from May 1

City prepares for high water at Mission Creek

Property owners are being advised to prepare for flooding

Mother duck and babies rescued from Highway 97 in Lake Country

The mother and nine ducklings were taken to Duck Lake

Non-food vendors coming back to Kelowna farmers’ market this weekend

The Kelowna Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market is welcoming back several artisans on Saturday

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Parts of the TCT through Princeton will open to motorized vehicles Monday

Parts of the KVR trail through Princeton will open for motorized vehicles… Continue reading

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

North Okanagan farmers’ markets excited to welcome artisans back amid COVID-19

Provincial health officer announced non-food items to return to markets this weekend

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Chef brings farm-to-table approach to new Shuswap restaurant

Darren Bezanson opening Bistro 1460 at Hilltop Inn

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

Most Read