- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 12, 2009

HAMEENLINNA, FINLAND (AP) - The United States won its second straight women’s World Hockey Championship title Sunday, beating Canada 4-1 behind defenseman Caitlin Cahow’s two goals.

Goaltender Jessie Vetter made 39 saves and the U.S. played a penalty-free game to secure its third title in the last four world championships.

The Americans moved ahead of Canada in the IIHF women’s world rankings for the first time since they were introduced in 2004. It is also the first time the U.S. defeated Canada in back-to-back finals at the women’s worlds. The United States won its first world title in Sweden four years ago.

In the bronze-medal game, Finland defeated Sweden 4-1 on Michelle Karvinen’s two goals.

The Americans took the lead after 24 seconds when Hilary Knight fed Cahow for the fastest goal in a gold-medal game. Cahow later scored on a power play 7:09 into the third period. The goals were her first of the tournament.

Meghan Duggan also scored for the U.S. and Knight added an empty-netter with nine seconds left after Canada goalie Charline Labonte was pulled for an extra attacker. Jennifer Botterill had Canada’s goal at 5:11 of the second period.

“What we saw today was full commitment _ they put the effort in for three periods and were rewarded in the end,” said U.S. coach Mark Johnson, the women’s hockey coach at Wisconsin. “The game was good start to finish and we played disciplined hockey.”

The United States completed the tournament with a 4-0-0-1 record. The game sharpened the rivalry the between the countries, with the Vancouver Games awaiting next year and the U.S. two-time defending Olympic champion. Canada has won the most world titles with nine.

For Sweden, silver medalists at the 2006 Turin Olympics, it was another disappointing finish. Last year, Sweden was fifth.

Notes: The United States was 1-for-2 on the power play. … Canada held a 40-29 advantage in shots … Caitlin Cahow was honored as U.S. Player of the Game while Jenny Potter was chosen the most skilled. … Kacey Bellamy, of Westfield, Mass., Julie Chu of Fairfield, Conn. and Hilary Knight were named the top three U.S. players of the tournament. … Chu finished as the tournament’s leading point getter with 10 points (5 goals, 5 assists), while Darwitz was second with 10 points (3-7) and Knight was third with nine points (7-2). Knight was the tournament’s leading goal scorer.

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