Once just wasn’t enough.
Canada and the USA will meet in the gold medal game of the 2007 IIHF World Women’s Championship Tuesday night, marking their tenth straight final clash in tournament history.
“We love this rivalry,” said Team Canada captain Hayley Wickenheiser following her team’s 5-0 win over Finland Monday night. “It’s a great rivalry and one of the best in all of sports, so we’re looking forward to it.”
Canada and the USA have a rich history together. And even though players are told to forget the past and concentrate on the present, it’s tough to ignore how dominant Canada has been.
The Canadians have won eight of nine gold medal finals versus the Americans, and they’ve succeeded in a variety of different ways. They’ve blown away Team USA (8-), they’ve posted convincing victories (5- and 6-), and they’ve won plenty of nail-biters (4-3 (OT) in 1997, 3-, 3-2 (OT) in 2000, 3-, and 2-).
But as everyone knows, nothing lasts forever in hockey, and the Americans proved that adage in the 2005 final. The USA played a perfect game from start to finish, coming away with a 1-0 shootout victory and foiling Canada’s bid to win its ninth straight title.
Team USA has brought a revamped roster to this tournament, and will hope its youth movement will pay off with a different result in the final compared to Saturday’s 5-4 shootout loss to Canada.
“You play a country a lot of times, but every team’s a little different,” said Team Canada Head Coach Melody Davidson. “So when you first play against them you learn new things and you learn about their players, and I felt like we sort of got over the mystique of ‘What’s this new US team all about?’”
Canada and the United States have also met in two Olympic gold medal finals, with both teams coming away with a win each. The Americans dominated Canada in 1998, winning 3-1, but the Canadians responded in 2002 with a thrilling 3-2 win. Canada also won Olympic gold in 2006, but in that instance, they confronted Sweden in the final instead, after Tre Kronor had shockingly ousted the USA in the semi-finals.
Overall, Canada has scored 34 goals in nine World Championship gold medal games, an average of 3.7 per game. The USA, on the other hand, has struggled in the clutch, scoring just 14 goals for an average of 1.5. The Americans are a feisty bunch, though, and a historically based gold medal prediction done on a calculator isn’t about to scare them. They are, after all, coming in as the defending champs.
Game time Tuesday night is 7:30 p.m. Winnipeg time, and tickets are sold out, but TSN is airing the game live across Canada.