The women's hockey team crowds for a picture with a banner that reads CHAMPIONS,

Best of 2021: Team Canada wins first women’s hockey world title since 2012

Our Best of 2021 series recaps the incredible performances by Canadian athletes over the past year. Check out the full list here.

Team Canada was sick of being on the wrong side of history against rival Team USA at the IIHF Women’s World Championship. 

Heading into the 2021 tournament, the U.S. had won five consecutive world titles. Canada had reached the gold medal game four times in that span, coming up short each time.

After the 2020 tournament was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and then postponed again from April 2021 until August, Canada finally got to host the event on home ice in Calgary.

Canada was nothing but dominant throughout the tournament, winning all seven games by a combined goal differential of +27.

The only close contest came when the stakes were the highest. Yet Canada prevailed in one of those “you had to see it to believe it” moments.

Here’s a quick recap of how Canada returned to glory in Calgary:

Canada opened the tournament with wins against Finland, ROC, and Switzerland before making a statement against the defending champs. Their 5-1 win against the U.S. closed out the preliminary round with a perfect record.

READ: Team Canada will play Team USA for IIHF Women’s Worlds title

Ann-Renée Desbiens posted shutouts in both knockout games against Germany (7-0), and Switzerland (4-0) to advance Canada to the gold medal game for another rematch with the Americans.

In the final, Canada fell behind 2-0, but goals from Brianne Jenner and Jamie Lee Rattray evened things up in the second.

After a scoreless third, the stage was set for captain Marie-Philip Poulin to come through in the clutch yet again.

READ: Team Canada wins 2021 IIHF Women’s World Championship title

Her top-shelf wrist shot in overtime had so much sauce it popped off of the netting and prompted confusion. Poulin was sure she had scored. The officials, not so much. But after replay review, the delayed celebration commenced for real. 

We were so excited, we had to act appropriately:

With six goals and six assists, Mélodie Daoust was named the MVP of the tournament.