Today in Olympic History - February 17

by Wendy Graves

1998 – UNITED STATES 3, CANADA 1
The United States used a hot goaltender and timely offense to beat Canada 3-1 and claim the first gold medal in women’s hockey.

Canada went into the match-up as the four-time defending world champion, having defeated the U.S. in every international gold medal game to that point. However, the Americans were gaining ground and the two teams had split their previous 14 meetings.

“We knew we were in tough,” says Cassie Campbell-Pascall, then a defenceman on the team. “The U.S. had really improved over the year and a half leading up the Games. I think there was a lot of pressure leading up to that game, and we didn’t have the experience to look to as no one had played in an Olympics before.”

After a scoreless first, the Americans got on the board less than three minutes into the second, capitalizing with only five seconds left on the power play off the stick of Gretchen Ulion.

The 8,100 fans in attendance saw the Americans go up 2-0 halfway through the third on another man-advantage; this time it was Shelley Looney doing the scoring, beating Canadian netminder Manon Rhéaume.

Danielle Goyette finally put Canada on the board with her tournament-leading eighth goal at the16-minute mark of the third, but the U.S. would score into an empty net in the dying seconds to secure victory and the inaugural Olympic gold.

The loss would motivate the team moving forward. Ten players who had stood on the blue line as the American national anthem played in 1998 would be back at the 2002 Games, when Canada would defeat a U.S. team that had spent the previous four years centralized. “We had no business winning [in 2002],” says Campbell-Pascall, “but I truly believe that the memory of 1998 motivated us to win that last game.”

Campbell-Pascall wishes the 1998 team could’ve won gold for the players who were instrumental in pioneering the women’s game. The silver medal, though, provided plenty for personal reflection.

“I learned a lot about myself as a player, a person and a leader from that 1998 experience. I simply had to be better.”

OTHER GAMES

1928 – Dave Trottier scored five goals and Jim Sullivan had the shutout as Canada blanked Sweden 11-0 to open its tournament. As two-time defending gold medallists, the Canadians were allowed to bypass the preliminary and automatically earned a place in the medal round.

1952 – Billy Gibson had a hat trick and Canada took a commanding 6-2 lead after the first period en route to a 13-3 win over Finland. The Canadians surrendered only seven shots on net, the fewest ever for the Olympic team.

1968 – With the gold medal on the line, Canada fell to the Soviet Union 5-0 to close out the round-robin tournament, leaving the Canadians with the bronze.

1984 – Mario Gosselin made 34 saves in the Canadian goal, but Canada managed just 15 shots – its fewest in an Olympic game – in a 4-0 loss to the Soviet Union. It also marked the first time Canada had ever been shut out in back-to-back Olympic games.

1994 – Dwayne Norris scored twice and Petr Nedved once – on the first and only penalty shot in Canadian Olympic history – but Canada conceded a late power-play goal and settled for a 3-3 tie with the United States.

2002 – Canada scored three times in the second period and held off a high-flying German team in the third to grab a 3-2 win. Joe Sakic, Paul Kariya and Adam Foote scored for Canada; Martin Brodeur stopped 18 shots to pick up his first Olympic victory.

2006 – Canada scored four times on the power play to defeat Finland 6-0 in a semifinal showdown and move on to the gold medal game. Gillian Apps led the way with a goal and three assists, while Hayley Wickenheiser added a goal and two helpers.

2010 – Meghan Agosta and Hayley Wickenheiser had five points each to lead Canada to a 13-1 victory over Sweden. Cherie Piper and Gillian Apps had two goals apiece, in a game in which 15 Canadian players had at least one point.

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