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O’Fallon’s Dunne scores shootout goal, helps USA U18 women beat Canada

JincyDunne_ActionO’Fallon’s Jincy Dunne helped the U.S. Women’s 18U team slay the dragon Monday night.

Team USA defeated defending world champion Canada 2-1 in a shootout before a soldout HarborCenter crowd in Buffalo, N.Y. It was an opening day game in the IIHF Women’s U18 World Championship.

The U.S. plays its second preliminary game at 6 p.m. CST Tuesday (Jan. 6) against the Czech Republic, which dropped its opener to Russia, 3-1.

Dunne, 17, the team captain and a senior at The Fulton School at St. Albans, is hoping to lead the U.S. team to a gold medal. This is Dunne’s third time playing for the U18 team.

A defenseman, Dunne showed she knows how to handle the stick on offense as she scored one of two goals in the shootout as the U.S. bested Canada, 2-1, on the opening day of the IIHF Women’s U18 World Championship.

“Jincy is a gifted player,” U.S. coach Joel Johnson, who also is the associate head coach at Minnesota, said in a news conference after the game. “She’s a world-class player and I think one of the best players in the tournament and I thought she proved that.

“When you find someone that has that great a physical ability but also handles herself as such a composed, humble great leader, you put a ‘C’ on their jersey and hope for the best.”

Defenseman Grace Bizal opened the scoring for Team USA. She scored after receiving a pass from Caitrin Lonergan from the right faceoff circle 5 minutes, 6 seconds into the game.

¶ Team USA had other chances to pad the lead but could not break Canadian goaltender Marlene Boissonnault. The U.S. squad went 0-for-5 on the power play.

Canada’s Sarah Potomak tied the game, beating U.S. goalie Kaitlin Burt with 10:59 left in the third.

The teams had a scoreless five-minute overtime.

In the best-of-three shootout Dunne and Abby Roque scored while Burt stopped the first two shots.

It was called an overtime win in the tournament format. The U.S. receives two points and trails Russia in Group A. The Russians opened with a three-point regulation win over the Czech Republic. Canada gets one point for the overtime loss.

This is the eighth edition of the tournament that was first played in 2008. Five countries have participated in each event – Canada, the United States, Sweden, the Czech Republic and Finland.

¶ Canada has won four gold medals, including the last three. The United States has won three gold medals, last winning the championship in 2011.

Here is the tournament format: There are two groups. Seeds 1-4 are in Group A (Canada, USA, Czech Republic, Russia) with seeds 5-8 in Group B (Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, Japan). After preliminary-round games (three points for a win, two points for an overtime win, one point for an overtime loss), teams will be ranked by points in each group. The top two teams in Group A will get a bye into the semifinals. The bottom two teams in Group B will play a best-of-three series with the loser relegated to Division I next season. The four remaining teams will play in a quarterfinal round with the winners advancing to the semifinals.

The United States has nine players back from last year’s U18 silver medal team – forwards Rebecca Gilmore, Caitrin Lonergan, Abby Roque, Melissa Samoskevich, Sophie Skarzynski, defensemen Bizal, Dunne, Patricia Marshall and goaltender Burt.

The U18 national teams are a grooming ground for future Olympians. Among the current members of senior national teams who played in the U18 championships are Amanda Kessel (USA), Megan Bozek (USA), Alex Carpenter (USA), Natalie Spooner (Canada), Marie-Philip Poulin (Canada) and Laura Fortino (Canada).

A year ago, Dunne was fighting for a spot on the U.S. Olympic roster. She was one of the last cuts before the team went to the Sochi Games.

Dunne recently announced she will play in college at Ohio State.

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