By Carter Brooks
Photos by Steve Kingsman and Robert Hradil
Led by Ste. Anne, Manitoba's Raygan Kirk, the Canadian Under-18 National Women's Team took back the gold medal from the Americans Sunday morning in Japan 3-2 in overtime.
Krik, Canada's goaltender of choice for the 2019 running of the International Ice Hockey Federation's U-18 Women's World Championship in Obihiro, Japan, was thrust into action in the second game of the tournament, taking the reins from Mahika Sarrazin, guiding the Canadians to gold.
The 17-year-old southern Manitoba product was voted in as tournament MVP, after putting up victories in three of her four games and ultimately winning the gold-medal game 3-2 in overtime. Kirk gave up just nine goals in her four tournament games played, stopping 25 of 27 shots on Sunday.
Kirk - a Robert Morris University commit - is currently in her third season playing for the Eastman Selects of the Manitoba Female Midget AAA Hockey League. The 5-foot-8, 140-pound netminder is 3-3-0 with one shutout and a dazzling 1.06 goals against average and a .964 save percentage for Eastman this season. She went 18-9-2 in 2017-18 with five shutouts.
Canada's first place finish at the 2019 WWU18 Championship was its first gold medal since 2014, breaking the Americans' streak of four-straight tournament wins. Four of the five goals in the game were scored on man advantages, including Maddi Wheeler's overtime winner, which came 1:34 into the extra frame.
The location for the 2020 running of the tournament has not yet been determined.