Canada saved its most dominant effort for last.
Caitlin Kraemer led the way with four goals as Canada routed Sweden 10-0 to claim its second consecutive gold medal at the women’s world under-18 hockey championship Sunday in Östersund, Sweden.
The 16-year-old Kraemer from Waterloo, Ont., scored a hat trick in a span of 6:44 in the first period, which was the fastest in tournament history.
Her fourth goal in the third period was her tournament-leading 10th, which also set a record for most goals by a Canadian in a single tournament.
That record was previously held by current Canadian women’s hockey team captain Marie-Philip Poulin.
“This team has been such a big part of my achievements, I could not have done it without them,” said Kraemer, who was named to the tournament all-star team.
“We wanted to leave the world knowing who we are. I am at a loss for words. You dream about this as a little kid, and to win is amazing.”
WATCH | Kraemer leads Canada’s U18 women’s hockey team to gold:
Alexia Aubin, with two goals, Abby Lunney, Piper Grober, Mackenzie Alexander and Charlotte Pieckenhagen also scored for Canada, which went undefeated throughout the tournament and claimed back-to-back gold for the first time since winning three straights from 2012 to 2014.
Goaltender Hannah Clark’s 21-save shutout was the first of her international career.
“We knew what our end goal was,” Clark said. “We knew we had a job to do and were going to work as hard as possible to get it done.
Our team has so much heart. I love every one of these girls and I know we love each other. You dream about [winning gold] since you are little. It is so special.”
Swedish goaltender Felicia Frank surrendered five goals in 12 minutes before making way for Ida Henriksson.
Henriksson stopped 26-of-31 shots in relief for Sweden.
The United States defeated Finland 5-0 to grab bronze earlier Sunday.
Sweden’s 2-1 semifinal upset of the US on Saturday meant the Americans would not play for gold for the first time in the 15-year history of the tournament.
Alex Law scored the overtime goal for Canada in a 3-2 semifinal win over Finland.
She was among seven veterans of the 2022 team that won gold in a tournament delayed and relocated from January in Sweden to June in Madison, Wis., because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Canada got off to a blistering start Sunday thanks to Kraemer. After being held scoreless in Saturday’s semifinal for the first time in the tournament, she netted two quick goals.
Kraemer opened the scoring 5:16 into the contest before adding her second 25 seconds later.
Aubin joined in on the fun at 9:41 when she redirected an Ava Murphy shot into the net. Murphy had three assists in the game.
Grober made it 4-0 with a wrist shot on the power play at 10:01.
At the 12-minute mark, Kraemer completed the hat trick on a two-on-one break, beating Frank top corner.
Aubin added her second of the game 3:54 into the middle frame. After a Sweden turnover, Pieckenhagen sent Aubin on a breakaway and she beat Henriksson with a backhand shot.
Less than 90 seconds later, Lunney scored on a rebound to make it a 7-0 game.
Alexander added to the advantage at 8:29 of the second.
Pieckenhagen joined in on the scoring just 52 seconds into the third.
Kraemer scored on the power play 9:17 into the final frame, when she netted a rebound off Emma Venusio one-timer.
“We knew they were going to bring it today, but getting to watch them celebrate the little things, be happy for each other was great,” said assistant coach Tara Watchorn, an Olympic gold medalist in 2014.
“This group was special, no doubt. To get to see them represent their country with pride, class and so much skill was a lot of fun.”
Slovakia’s 14-year-old phenom Nela Lopusanova was named tournament MVP after leading all players in scoring with 12 points (nine goals, three assists).