The International Ice Hockey Federation website calls them the Cardiac Kids.
The moniker springs from Canada’s heart-stopping 2-1 victory Jan. 5 over the United States in the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship final in Heinola, Finland, tying the game with 12 seconds left in the third period to set up the game winner in overtime.
Alexa Ranahan, 17, plays defence on the team and was one of just six B.C. players chosen to try out for the squad.
She claimed her first gold with the team in August, when Canada’s U18 women’s hockey team defeated the U.S. 5-4 in the final of a three-game exhibition series in Minnesota.
Ranahan’s home team is the Okanagan Hockey Academy Midget AAA squad.
The IIHF website describes the final world championship game in Finland this way:
“The game very nearly ended in regulation time in favour of the United States, but for a last-gasp goal from Canada’s Catherine Dubois, who tied the game with 12 seconds left to send it into overtime.
“Then 58 seconds into the extra frame Hanna Bunton got the puck in the U.S. zone to the left of the net, stickhandled the puck towards goaltender Sidney Peters and, at the last moment, sent a backhand pass to an open Karly Heffernan in the slot for the overtime winner and Canada’s second consecutive gold medal.
“The game began in typical high-paced fashion for the two top teams in U18 women’s hockey. The Canadians were able to weather the initial heavy pressure from Team USA, thanks in large part to the play of goaltender Kimberly Newell, who stopped 19 of 20 shots, including a fantastic paddle save to deny the Americans an easy goal midway through the period.
“But penalties caught up to the Canadians in the frame, and with just under two minutes to go, Team USA fired a low shot from the point that slipped through the legs of Newell for the game’s first goal coming off a power play.
“It was an exciting game, we knew it was going to be a battle,” said Team Canada head coach Jim Fetter. “The first period we were on our heels but our goaltender played well and gave us an opportunity to stay in the game. After that we just kept rolling and the momentum eventually swung our way.”
“Down 1-0 going into the third period, with 24 seconds remaining and Newell sitting on the bench for the extra attacker, Canada won a faceoff in the U.S. zone and, after a shot was initially stopped by Peters, got another off that created a scramble in front of the net. Peters was unable to locate the puck, which squirted out to the left of the net and directly onto the stick blade of Catherine Dubois. Dubois fired it home with only 12 seconds left in the game to send it to overtime.
Her goal ended the United States’ new shutout record for a U18 women’s world championship. The USA went 299 minutes without allowing a goal in the tournament.
With the victory, Canada claims its third gold medal to bring it even with the U.S. in the six-year head-to-head history between the two teams at the U18 Women’s World Championship.
Prior to being selected to the team in August, Ranahan spoke to the Observer.
“It is really exciting,” she says. “You just don’t think it is ever going to happen. It has always been my dream to be on a national team whether it’s U18 or U22 or the national team. It is nerve wracking to know it is right there, this is my chance,” she said.
“It is my first year; of course I don’t expect to make it for sure, but I am definitely going to push for it. I think I have a good chance, but so does everyone else.”
At that time, prior to achieving her dream of joining the national team and the incredible thrill of winning gold, she had already set out further goals.
“I want to get a full ride scholarship to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and play on some sort of national team.”