GAME NOTES: CANADA VS. UNITED STATES (FEB. 16)
TV: CBC |
A rematch four years in the making,
Canada’s Women’s Olympic Team
faces its long-time rivals from the United States in the gold medal game at
the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
Canada got points from 16 different players (including all 13 forwards) and
racked up 61 shots on goal in
a 10-3 semifinal win over Switzerland. Marie-Philip Poulin scored twice and Sarah Nurse recorded four more
assists, tying Hayley Wickenheiser’s 2006 record for helpers in an Olympic
tournament with 12. Brianne Jenner made a little history of her own,
closing out the scoring with her ninth goal, equalling the Olympic record.
The Americans started slow against the Finns in their semifinal, but Cayla
Barnes got the scoring started on the power play early in the second period
and the U.S. never looked back,
earning a 4-1 victory. Barnes and Hilary Knight finished with a goal and an assist each.
In their 163rd all-time meeting just seven days ago, Canada used a
second-period flurry to earn
a 4-2 victory in the preliminary-round finale. Ann-Renée Desbiens was the big story, making 51 saves to set a Canadian
Olympic record for stops in a game (men’s or women’s hockey). Jenner, Jamie
Lee Rattray and Poulin (on a penalty shot) scored 5:25 apart late in the
middle frame to turn a one-goal deficit into a two-goal lead. Jenner
finished with a pair of goals, Poulin added a goal and a helper and the
Canadians killed five of six U.S. power plays.
WHAT TO WATCH
While the talk has been mostly focused on Canada’s outstanding offensive
production – the team tops the tournament in goals (54), shooting
percentage (17.4%) and power play (45.5%) – it’s the rookie-laden defence
that has been the secret weapon. Claire Thompson and Erin Ambrose are the
highest-scoring defencemen ever in a single women’s Olympic tournament
(Thompson – 2-10—12; Ambrose – 4-5—9) and all seven D have at least two
points. Their ability to generate offence from the blue line has been a
major contributor to Canada’s success, but against the scoring threat the
Americans pose, Canada’s defensive line will be critical.
The Americans will need to either slow down the record-setting Canadian
offence, or keep up. The U.S. has been getting offence from up and down the
lineup, with the usual suspects of Knight (5-4—9), Amanda Kessel (2-5—7)
and Kendall Coyne Schofield (3-3—6) leading the way. That balanced
production (seven players averaging at least a point a game) will need to
continue if the U.S. hopes to defend its 2018 gold.
A LOOK BACK
While Canada has the all-time edge with 92 wins in 163 games, this rivalry
is about as even as they come. Need proof? In the last 12 meetings between
the rivals, six of those games have needed overtime (Canada has won four,
with Poulin getting the GWG in three), and since the 2018 Olympics, the
teams have split their 22 matchups almost down the middle (Canada has an
There have been nine Olympic meetings since 1998, with the Canadians
winning six of those. Canada and the U.S. split their 2018 contests –
Genevieve Lacasse made 44 saves in
a 2-1 prelim win, before the Canadians dropped
a 3-2 heartbreaker in shootout
in the gold medal game.
All-time record: Canada leads 92-70-1 (20-17 in OT/SO)
Canada goals: 448
United States goals: 395