Team Canada boss made right decision in goal

PAUL FRIESEN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

It might be the most important decision she made this week.

And in the end, Team Canada boss Melody Davidson weighed the stats, consulted with her staff -- and went with her gut.

To the surprise of some, Davidson chose 28-year-old veteran Kim St-Pierre as her starting goaltender for last night's gold-medal game against the U.S.

That despite the fact Charline Labonte, 24, was in goal for last year's Olympic gold-medal final.

"It's worked before," Davidson said of following her instincts. "So I just go with it."

It worked again, as St-Pierre stopped 21 of 22 shots in Canada's 5-1 victory, reclaiming the world title the Americans won at the last world championship in 2005.

St-Pierre and Labonte had split the four previous games here this week, with Labonte allowing the only goals in a 5-4 shootout win over the U.S.

St-Pierre, even though she faced lesser opponents in Germany and Finland, must have shown Davidson something in registering two shutouts.

"There's a time for evaluation, and it's not the gold-medal game," Davidson said. "You go with who you feel can get the job done. It's a tough position to play in our country. On any given day, any one of them can walk away with the show."

Davidson says she weighed everything from performance here to the seasons both goaltenders had with their club teams.

The fact St-Pierre, going into last night's game, hadn't faced American shooters this week wasn't a factor.

"She's been practising against us for two weeks," the coach explained. "She played the boys team (in Selkirk). So they face those challenges all the time."

When it came to decision time, Davidson didn't so much look at scouting reports or video, but with how she felt.

With the help of a cross-bar in the first period, St-Pierre was sharp throughout, allowing only U.S. captain Krissy Wendell's goal in the third period, when the game was out of reach.

American coach Mark Johnson made a change from the previous Canada-U.S. matchup, too, going with veteran Chanda Gunn, in her third world championship, over 21-year-old Jessie Vetter.

Gunn certainly wasn't the reason the U.S. lost, as she faced 34 shots and didn't stand a chance on the goals.


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