OTTAWA — Amanda Kessel scored the winner early in the third period and the United States beat Canada 3-2 in the gold medal game of the women's world hockey championship on Tuesday.
The sister of Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel moved in on a 2-on-1 and roofed a shot over goalie Shannon Szabados at 3:09 of the third.
"It feels great," said Kessel, who lead Minnesota to the NCAA hockey title last month "It couldn't feel any better." Brianna Decker and Megan Bozek had the other goals for the U.S., which got two assists from Kendall Coyne. Courtney Birchard and Caroline Ouellette scored for Canada. Marie-Philip Poulin added a pair of assists.
"We needed to have more sense of urgency in front of their net earlier on," Canadian captain Hayley Wickenheiser said. "We need to execute. There was no shortage of chances for us and opportunities for us, but we didn't execute."
U.S. goalie Jessie Vetter made 14 saves for the win, while Szabados stopped 27 shots.
"If you look at the quality of chances they had compared to ours, they deserved to win," Ouellette said. "With 16 shots on net, it's hard to win a hockey game."
Canada, which beat the U.S. 3-2 in a shootout in round-robin play, defeated the Americans 5-4 in overtime in last year's final in Burlington, Vt.
"Really, what matters is how to you finish the tournament," Kessel said. "I think we played our best game tonight."
Canada led 1-0 after the opening period, but Decker tied the game on an odd-man rush, deking Szabados at 2:23 of the second. Canada got into penalty trouble later in the period and with Rebecca Johnston and Wickenheiser serving minors, Bozek scored on a one-timer at 14:26. But Ouellette skated out from the boards and scored a power-play goal on a snap shot at 17:50 to tie it 2-2 heading to the third.
Birchard's shot beat a screened Vetter at 9:50 for the only goal of the first period. Canada was outshot 12-8 in the first period and wasn't able to turn 29 seconds of a two-man advantage late in the period into a second goal.
The U.S. and Canada have met in every final since the tournament's inception in 1990. Canada holds a 10-5 lead in gold medals, but the U.S. has won five of the past seven tournaments.