For the ninth straight year, Canada and the United States faced off in the women's world hockey championship. And for the first time in tournament history, the U.S. came out on top.

Tournament most valuable player Krissy Wendell scored the winning goal in a shootout to give the United States a 1-0 victory and end Canada's eight-year gold-medal run.

The game went to a shootout after the two women's hockey powerhouses failed to score in regulation or in the 20-minute overtime. It's the third time a Canada-U.S. final has gone to overtime, but it was the first time the game was decided by a shootout.

Natalie Darwitz, Angela Ruggiero and Wendell scored on Canadian goaltender Kim St. Pierre in the shootout. Sarah Vaillancourt was the only Canadian shooter to beat American netminder Chanda Gunn.

"It was amazing out there, both teams battled so hard and both goalies obviously played outstanding," said Ruggiero.

"To finally win a world championship ... it took our program 15 years. But the longer the wait the sweeter the taste. We came so close so many times, to finally pull it off in a dramatic fashion like this feels unbelievable."

St. Pierre had stopped 49 shots and Gunn 26 during regulation and overtime.

It was a shattering loss for the Team Canada, which hadn't allowed a goal in tournament play until the shootout.

"We had our chances in regulation. We just didn't bury the puck," Canadian head coach Melody Davidson said.

"There's a great group of people in that locker room who are devastated right now. They'll internalize that and it will drive them. It will drive us as a program right through to the next Olympics."

Hayley Wickenheiser, Jayna Hefford and Caroline Ouellet were denied by Gunn in the shootout. Helen Resor was the only American who failed to beat St. Pierre, who kept the Canadian team in the game with her sensational play all night.

"We didn't give up a goal all tournament," said Canadian captain Cassie Campbell. "You look at Kim. She battled mono all year. She fought back the last two months to get herself in shape basically and I thought she was outstanding the entire game, even in the shootout. I know she's really disappointed. It's a tough way to lose and a tough way to win I think.

"We had a ton of chances. We had a lot of shots that got blocked and a lot of shots that didn't hit the net. I think had we got more of those shots on net, this might have been a different game." The Canadian squad had been the class of this year's world tournament.

Though they lost the world title, the Canadian team had outscored opponents 38-0 in its previous four tournament games and became the first country in tournament history to post four shutouts.

Team Canada was attempting to add its name hockey's history books had they won this year's world title. Nine straight championships would have matched the Soviet men's run that lasted from 1963 to 1972.

Earlier in the day, the host Swedes defeated Finland 5-2 to take the bronze medal. The triumph helped Sweden avenge a loss to the Finns in last year's bronze-medal match.

The American held control for most of the game, outshooting the Canadians in every period. U.S. forward Cammi Granato almost scored late during overtime when her shot came centimetres within the goal line during the power play.

U.S. forward Kelly Stephens had the best chance in regulation, hitting the right post from close range seven minutes into the third period.