In this file photo, Canada’s Anne Cherkowski #11 will be one of two Okanagan players to join Team Canada Womens U18 World Championships. Sarah Paul from West Kelowna joins Team Canada for the tournament starting Dec. 26. (Photo: Hockey Canada)

In this file photo, Canada’s Anne Cherkowski #11 will be one of two Okanagan players to join Team Canada Womens U18 World Championships. Sarah Paul from West Kelowna joins Team Canada for the tournament starting Dec. 26. (Photo: Hockey Canada)

Canada clinches top spot in Group A with 2-1 win over United States

BRATISKLAVA, Slovakia — Anne Cherkowski and Marianne Picard both scored goals as Canada edged the United States 2-1 to close out preliminary-round play at the under-18 women’s world hockey championship on Sunday.

With the win, Canada secured first place in Group A.

The Canadians got off to a quick start when Cherkowski of Vernon, B.C., opened the scoring just 20 seconds into the game.

That 1-0 scoreline stood for over 50 minutes until Picard of Repentigny, Que., doubled Canada’s lead at 14:23 of the third period.

Canadian goaltender Eve Gascon stood stall, making 27 saves. The only goal that the native of Terrebonne, Que., gave up came in the game’s final two seconds with the United States on a 6-on-3 power play — thanks to two Canadian penalties combined with the Americans pulling their goaltender.

Lacey Eden was credited with the lone goal for team USA.

Skylar Vetter turned aside 36-of-38 shots in defeat.

Canada failed to convert on three power plays, while team USA went 1 for 6 with the man advantage.

Both the Canadians and the Americans are now off until the semifinals on New Year’s Day.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 29, 2019.