ST. PAUL – Canada’s National Women’s Olympic hockey team is set to face USA’s National Women’s Team at the Xcel Energy Centre in St. Paul, MN on Friday, December 30th (7pm CT), in the first of two games this week. The two teams will meet again on Sunday, January 1st at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, MB (2:30pm CT) as Canada continues its preparations to defend Olympic gold at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin, Italy.
These two games will mark the ninth and tenth games in 2005-06 between the two women’s hockey rivals. Canada has a 7-1-0 record vs. USA this season.
At the 2005 Four Nations Cup in Hameenlinna, Finland, Canada defeated the USA 4-0 (round robin) on August 31st and 2-1 (championship game) on September 4th. Canada followed that up with victories on December 6th (3-2) and December 8th (6-0) in Saskatchewan. In Turin, Italy at the 2005 Torino Ice Pre-Olympic Tournament on November 10th, Canada skated to a 5-0 win, and November 12th, the final game, Canada won 7-0.
The most recent meetings between the two teams was a two game series in the USA which they split, one game a piece. November 27 in Columbus, OH the USA came out on top with a 2-1 shoot out victory, and December 1 in Chicago, IL Canada was victorious, 3-1.
Canada’s Women’s team has been centralized full-time in Calgary since August 1st. Canada’s 22 player women’s hockey roster consists of 12 forwards, seven defense and three goalies. The official Olympic roster will be 20 players (Canada will bring one extra goalie to Turin in case of injury). The coaching staff also named defenseman Delaney Collins as an alternate, who will train with the team up until they depart for Turin.
Two Canadian players will be making a return to their home province of Manitoba for the game in Winnipeg on January 1, forward Jennifer Botterill (Winnipeg, MB) and defenseman Delaney Collins (Pilot Mound, MB).
“The team is eager to play another pair of games that involve a high level of intensity and competition. Needless to say, the players are thrilled to be able to finish off in Winnipeg and look forward to a great Canadian send-off as this is our last international game prior to the Olympics” said Canada’s Head Coach Melody Davidson.