(NBC) – The game had to be played, but every true hockey fan knew before the start of the 2022 Winter Olympics that it would come.
Canada. United States. For women’s hockey gold.
There is no love between these two hockey forces. Americans and Canadians competed for gold in five of the six Olympics in which women’s hockey was included as an event. They know each other as well as a pair of opponents, and nothing motivates each team more than the thought of winning each other. Especially if there is a name on the line.
And if you ask those who are at the forefront, there is no comparison. This rivalry is unlike any of the latter.
“It’s great hockey, it’s the most beautiful rivalry in the sport,” said the American striker. Hillary Knight. “It gets the best and the worst of both of us at the same time. It’s a great game. “
The Canadians have a 3-2 advantage over the Americans in their five Olympic gold medal matches to date, but when it comes to the Women’s World Championships, the Americans dominate, winning gold in eight of their last 11 clashes with Canada in the title game.
Of course, the US is currently holding the Olympic crown from Pyeongchang. Who can forget the victory of the Americans in the skirmishes and the appearance of the beautiful move “Oh, I did it again”?
Certainly not Canada. This loss has haunted the Canadians since 2018 and they want to get their gold back at this year’s Games at all costs.
“Everyone is excited and prepared. We worked on it all year, we worked so hard, so we will be ready to participate in this final game and really give our best, “said the Canadian forward. Rebecca Johnston.
“This gold medal is definitely in our minds.”
As it should be. Throughout this year’s tournament, the Canadians were unstoppable, beating their opponents 54-8 on the way to a perfect 6-0 record before the title match.
But the Americans were also impressed. Although the U.S. scored “only” 28 goals in its six Olympics – just over half of Canada’s goals in the same number of games – the Americans ’defense was something stellar. They scored just eight goals in 360 minutes of play and dominated the game, beating their opponents 334-95, which is a mystery.
Since the beginning of this year’s tournament, the United States has lost only one game, and, of course, at the hands of Canada. But although the Americans failed to defeat Canada during the group game, they still played pretty well against their neighbors from the north border. They outscored the Canadians 53-27 in their previous tilt, but managed to score just one of six opportunities in the power play, and it cost them dearly.
However, the Americans know that if they play a game similar to the one they played against Canada in the previous training camp, they will have a very high chance of successfully defending their title in Pyeongchang.
“You just have to keep going. This sometimes happens. During seven games, not all chances will appear, otherwise you will fall into a small rut, ”the US forward said. Amanda Kessel after defeat by Canada. “I think if we continue to do what we do, the gateways will open.”
While the Americans ’return to the gold medal game was expected, they faced stiff competition in the relegation rounds. The Czechs intimidated American hockey fans in the quarterfinals when they briefly held the lead in the middle of the game, but the Americans responded quickly and got a big 4-1 victory.
Finland then gave the USA in the semifinals. The high danger of scoring a goal at the end of the game almost led the Finns forward, but a pair of clutch pads saved from Alex Cavalini kept the game without points and changed the dynamics in favor of his team.
While the two U.S. playoff games may have increased heart rate, they probably also helped prepare the team for the biggest challenge. Now the Americans hope that they have won enough brave victories over the Czechs and Finns to bring them back to the gold medal.
“I know how important a gold medal is for our program, I know how important it is for the mass level,” Knight said. “I know what young girls, young boys, adults are watching. What this team is doing for our country is incredible. “
The loss of the puck for the gold medal game between the US and Canada is scheduled for Wednesday night at 23:10 ET. The game can be broadcast on NBCOlympics.com, in NBC Sports and Peacockand it will be broadcast on U.S. national television with a rerun on Thursday night at 5pm on ET.