In the final on Sunday night, Canada held a 3-2 lead going into the third period and was on track to win the world championship for the third time in a row, but they blew it with sloppy play and took two late penalties, giving the US a two-player edge with 3:52 remaining.
Knight earned her country’s 10th and first in four years at the women’s world hockey championships by making them pay dearly for their errors.
After Caroline Harvey had pulled the US level at 3-3 early in the third, captain Knight scored twice to complete her hat-trick having also netted in the second period.
Cayla Barnes scored into an empty net to close out the scoring while Abbey Murphy also had a goal.
Brianne Jenner had a hand in all three Canada goals, scoring twice in the second period and setting up Marie-Philip Poulin for another, but it was her tripping penalty, along with Claire Thompson’s delay of game, that provided the US with their golden opportunity.
No country other than the US or Canada have won a world championship or Olympic gold.
Only once have the Canadians and Americans not played each other for the world title, when hosts Finland crashed the party in 2019 to take silver.