How good were the line-ups the last time Canada’s National Women’s Team
faced off against the United States on New Brunswick ice?
There are seven women who have earned induction into the Hockey Hall of
Fame, and the two games on Nov. 7-8, 1997 featured six of them – Angela
James (2010), Geraldine Heaney (2013), Jayna Hefford (2018) and Hayley
Wickenheiser (2019) for the Canadians, and Cammi Granato (2010) and Angela
Ruggiero (2015) for the Americans.
The games were part of a 10-game series between the teams in the lead-up to
the Olympic debut of women’s hockey at the 1998 Games in Nagano, Japan, and
the rivals criss-crossed North America trading victories – each finished
with five wins, and never did one team win more than two in a row.
But with the Rivalry Series on the ice this week in Moncton, let’s put the
focus on the two games in New Brunswick – both Canadian wins.
NOVEMBER 7, 1997 (BATHURST, N.B.) – CANADA 3, UNITED STATES 2
The Americans had drawn first blood, earning a 5-4 shootout win in Salt
Lake City, Utah, on Oct. 25 before the series shifted to the East Coast two
The U.S. struck first when Sandra Whyte beat Canadian goaltender Lesley
Reddon for an unassisted marker just past the five-minute mark, but Laura
Schuler, who coached Canada to Olympic silver in 2018, set up Karen Nystrom
in the final minute to send the teams to the first intermission even at
Tammy Lee Shewchuk counted the lone goal of the second period with the
Canadians on the power play, and James added a shorthanded marker six
minutes into the third for a little bit of insurance.
Stephanie O’Sullivan got one back for the U.S. with less than five minutes
to go, and the Americans peppered Reddon with 12 shots in the final frame,
but Canada held on for a one-goal victory.
NOVEMBER 8, 1997 (SAINT JOHN, N.B.) – CANADA 4, UNITED STATES 1
The series moved 346 kilometres south one night later, with Harbour Station
Canadian captain Stacy Wilson – a New Brunswick native – opened the scoring
just over four minutes in, and a pair of Hall of Famers combined for the
2-0 goal when Heaney set up Hefford for a power-play marker six minutes
into the second.
Fiona Smith made it a three-goal game before the end of the middle frame,
and Vicky Sunohara added another early in the third, putting the Canadians
in complete control.
Alana Blahoski scored on a U.S. man advantage to spoil the shutout bid for
Manon Rhéaume midway through the final period, but that would be the lone
puck to beat the Canadian netminder, who finished with 21 saves in the win.
Three months later the Americans downed Canada 3-1 to win the first-ever
Olympic gold medal, with 38 of the 40 players who skated in the final
having played at least one game in New Brunswick (all except Cassie
Campbell and the seventh member of the Hockey Hall of Fame group, Danielle