U.S., Canada women set for another classic Olympic gold-medal final

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There’s one game left for both the U.S. and Canada women’s hockey teams (Weds., 11 p.m. ET; NBC, Peacock) and the prize at the end of their Olympic journey is a gold medal.

That’s nothing new for these two countries. In the six tournaments since women’s hockey was introduced at the Olympics, the U.S. and Canada have met for gold five times — now six. Canada has come out on top four times (2002, 2006, 2010, 2014), while the Americans won the first edition (1998) and the last (2018).

It was Jocelyne Lamoreaux-Davidson’s “Oops, I did it again” shootout move that gave the U.S. the gold medal in a shootout in PyeongChang four years ago. It’s a loss still doesn’t sit well with Canada.

“In all honesty, it was very anti-climactic for us to lose in a shootout, because it didn’t feel as if you lost a game,” said Canada forward Sarah Nurse, whose 16 points leads the tournament. “It almost felt like unfinished business. So going into this gold-medal game, regardless of who we play, we’re here to finish business and win a hockey game.”

[2022 Beijing Olympics: Medal count / Schedule / Hockey coverage]

These two teams played each other eight days ago with Canada coming out on top 4-2. It was in that game the U.S. dominated the shot counter (53-27) but they failed to challenge goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens.

Through six games, the U.S. is fifth in goals with 28 and first in shots with 334 shots.

“I just feel really good about how we match up against Canada,” said U.S. head coach Joel Johnson. “I think if we can generate a few more scoring chances and make some plays, then that would hopefully be our best game.”

“You just have to keep going. That happens sometimes. Over the course of seven games not every chance is going to go in or you hit a little rut,” said U.S. forward Amanda Kessel. “I think that if we keep doing what we’re doing the floodgates are going to open.”

No love lost

How does U.S. forward Hilary Knight describe the rivalry with Canada?

“It’s wonderful hockey, it’s the most beautiful rivalry in sport,” Knight said. “It gets the best and the worst out of both of us at the same time. It’s a wonderful game.”

There’s plenty of hate between the teams. They both know they are the best in the women’s game and both have expectations to win every game and tournament they participate in.

“Every time we go against them, we want to make a statement and show them that they don’t belong on the ice with us,” said Canada forward Natalie Spooner.

Next Tuesday marks the four-year anniversary of the U.S. gold medal win in PyeongChang. The road to Beijing and this gold medal game began that night at the Gangneung Hockey Centre. Canada vowed to avenge the defeat while the Americans, once they were done celebrating, were already thinking about a defense.

Four years later, we’re here and it’s the U.S. and Canada for gold. Again.

“These are the the games that we live for,” U.S. captain Kendall Coyne Schofield. “Everyone’s been so resilient through the pandemic with the ups and downs, the cancellations, postponements and finding ways to train, and it’s for this moment. We’re going to empty the tanks, and this is what we came here to do.”

Women’s Olympic gold medal history

YEAR OLYMPICS SCORE
1998 Nagano USA, 3-1
2002 Salt Lake City Canada, 3-2
2010 Vancouver Canada, 2-0
2014 Sochi Canada, 3-2 (OT)
2018 PyeongChang USA, 3-2 (SO)

Puck drop for the gold medal game between the U.S. and Canada is set for Wednesday night at 11 p.m. ET. The game can be streamed on NBCOlympics.com, the NBC Sports app and Peacock, and it will be televised nationally on NBC.

On the call for the gold medal game is Kenny Albert (play-by-play), A.J. Mleczko (analyst), Angela Ruggiero (studio analyst) and Leila Rahimi (reporter in Beijing).

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