It’s the one we’ve all been waiting for. One of the greatest rivalries in all of sports resumes on the biggest stage in the game when Canada’s Women’s Olympic Team takes on the United States to close out the preliminary round on Tuesday afternoon (Monday night in Canada).
Canada spread around the scoring against ROC, getting goals from six different players in a 6-1 win. Jamie Lee Rattray, Sarah Nurse, Rebecca Johnston and Marie-Philip Poulin counted a goal and an assist apiece for the Canadians, who converted three times on the power play and held the Russians to just five shots in the final 40 minutes.
The Americans scored early and often against Switzerland, counting five goals in the opening 20 minutes of an eventual 8-0 win that kept the U.S. perfect. Jesse Compher, Kelly Pannek and Hilary Knight each scored twice foe the U.S, which outshot the Swiss 66-12.
The 162nd meeting between the North American rivals came Dec. 17 in St. Louis, where Marie-Philip Poulin was the overtime hero for the second time in three days, redirecting home a feed from Jocelyne Larocque to give Canada a 3-2 extra-time win in Game 6 of the Rivalry Series. Sarah Fillier and Emily Clark had regulation-time goals for the Canadians.
WHAT TO WATCH
Who will step up next for Canada? Through three games, it has seemingly been a different player – or different players – leading the way in each game. Whether it was Natalie Spooner and Claire Thompson putting up five points each against Switzerland, Brianne Jenner and Sarah Nurse netting hat tricks against Finland or a scoring-by-committee effort against ROC, the depth of the Canadian lineup has been on display. So, in the biggest game yet … who’s next?
Much like the Canadians, the U.S. has relied on a balanced offence through its first three games. It’s no surprise to see Hilary Knight (3-2—5) and Amanda Kessel (2-3—5) leading the way, but nine different Americans have scored goals, 17 of 19 skaters (not including Brianne Decker, who suffered a tournament-ending injury 10 minutes into the opener against Finland) have earned at least a point and 10 have produced at least three.
A LOOK BACK
While Canada has the all-time edge with 91 wins in 162 games, this rivalry is about as even as they come. Need proof? In the last 11 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 21 matchups almost down the middle (Canada has an 11-10 edge).
There have been eight Olympic meetings since 1998, with the Canadians winning five 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 91-70-1 (20-17 in OT/SO)
Canada goals: 444
United States goals: 393