The United States successfully defended their title ©Francois Laplante/HHOF-IIHF Images

The United States successfully defended their International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Women's Under-18 Championship title after coming from behind to beat fierce rivals and hosts Canada 3-2 in St Catharines.

Both teams had begun the competition as the overwhelming favourites to reach the goal medal match at the start of the tournament, having contested each of the eight previous finals in its history.

Having lived up to expectations by earning comfortable 4-0 victories in their semi-finals, the two nations were vying to win a record fifth title.

The Canadian team began the brighter during the opening period of the game, with Jaime Bourbonnais giving them a 1-0 lead in front of a crowd of 5,516 fans in the Meridian Centre, a record attendance for the annual event.

Revenge for last year’s overtime defeat looked on the cards for the host nation after Daryl Watts struck to give her side a 2-0 advantage, but with five minutes remaining in the second period, Alex Woken reduced the arrears for the Americans.

It set up a dramatic final 20 minutes of action as the US looked to level the score and they were able to do so with an effort from Natalie Snodgrass forcing overtime.

The turnaround was completed just 1min 47sec into the additional period of play, as Snodgrass fired into the net to give her team back-to-back titles.

It was the ninth straight final between Canada and the United States
It was the ninth straight final between Canada and the United States ©Francois Laplante/HHOF-IIHF Images

"This team has worked so hard,” said Snodgrass.

“It's incredible to be able to repeat, we're incredibly excited.

"It was the most exciting game I've ever been in."

The bronze medal was claimed by Sweden for the fifth time in nine editions, as they claimed a narrow 2-1 victory over Russia.

Having been beaten 4-0 in the semi-final by the eventual winners, Sweden were hoping to end their campaign on a high.

Goals from Celine Tedenby and Sara Hjalmarsson in the first period gave them a comfortable advantage, with a late strike from Daria Beloglazova proving only a consolation for the Russians.