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by Kevin Snow / Buffalo Sabres


This year marks the eighth edition of the IIHF Women’s U18 World Championship, and the second to be played on US soil since 2010 in suburban Chicago. All 22 games of the 2015 tournament will be played at the HARBORCENTER complex in downtown Buffalo.

Since the tournament’s inception in 2008, the United States and Canada have won gold and silver every year. Canada has won gold the last three years, along with 2010. Team USA’s gold medals were won in 2011, 2009 and 2008.

Sweden has won four bronze medals, with Czech Republic (2) and Finland winning the others.

Group A: United States, Canada, Czech Republic, Russia
Group B: Finland, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland

  • Team USA’s roster features nine players who helped the 2014 U.S. Women’s National Under-18 Team earn a silver medal at the IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship in Budapest, Hungary. They are: Grace Bizal, Kaitlin Burt, Jincy Dunne, Rebecca Gilmore, Caitrin Lonergan, Patricia Marshall, Abby Roque, Melissa Samoskevich and Sophie Skarzynski.
  • Thirteen players are making their debut in this particular tournament, including three players - Mikaela Gardner, Kenzie Prater and Paige Voight - who are representing Team USA for the first time in their career.
  • Jincy Dunne is serving as team captain and the alternate captains are Grace Bizal and Samantha Davis. It is the second consecutive time at the IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship and third time overall that Dunne has served as team captain for Team USA.
  • The average age of Team USA is 16.7 years old. Alyssa Gorecki, 17, is the oldest member of the team, while 15-year old Cayla Barnes is the youngest.
  • Members of Team USA represent 10 different states. Minnesota leads the pack with eight representatives, followed by Massachusetts with four and Illinois with three. California, Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota and Wisconsin all have one.

The tournament’s top four seeded teams are in Group A, and the others are in Group B. Round-robin play runs from January 5-8 with each team playing three games within their pool.


The four teams from Group A and the best two teams from Group B advance to the Playoff Round.

The two top-seeded teams from Group A will receive an automatic bye to the Semifinals. The remaining four teams will take part in two Quarterfinal games on Friday, Jan. 9 at 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The two Quarterfinal winners will advance to the Semifinals to face the top two teams from Group A. The Semifinal games are set for Sunday, Jan. 11 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The Gold Medal game is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m., while the Bronze Medal Game will take place earlier that day at 3 p.m.

The third- and fourth-placed team in Group B will play a best-of-three relegation series beginning January 9. Game Two is on Jan. 11, with Game Three (if necessary) scheduled for Jan. 12. All games will be played at 12 Noon.

The three-point system is in effect during the round-robin portion. A regulation win is worth three points; shootout and overtime victories are worth two. Each team will receive one point for a regulation tie, with the extra point awarded following overtime or shootout.

During the round-robin portion, the teams will play a five-minute sudden-death overtime if they remain tied after regulation.

The quarterfinals, semifinals and bronze-medal game will each have 10-minute overtime periods.

The gold-medal game will have a 20-minute sudden-death overtime if the teams are tied after regulation.

Known in IIHF terminology as “game-winning shots,” teams will revert to this format if any game cannot be decided in overtime.

Three different players from each team will alternate shots until a winner is decided. If the teams remain tied after the first three shooters, they will reverse order and the format will now be sudden-death. The one nuance to the sudden-death format is that shots can be taken by any player, including multiple shots by the same player if necessary.

All round-robin games and the relegation playoff series are $5 each. The semifinals are $10, and the gold and bronze medal games are $20. Tickets are available for purchase online at, or at the First Niagara Center box office.

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