The matchup everyone pretty much knew was coming before the 2018 Olympic Women’s Hockey Tournament even started is now official.
Canada vs. Team USA.
Gold medal on the line.
Each team cruised in the semifinal round Monday, with the U.S. taking down Finland and Canada defeating the Olympic Athletes of Russia, each by matching 5-0 margins. Now, the two teams that have dominated international women’s hockey for multiple decades will square off for the biggest prize at the Winter Olympics.
“Everyone is rolling, that’s what we want, and that’s the kind of team we’ve built,” said U.S. forward Hilary Knight after the win against Finland. “The stakes couldn’t be higher, and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
“You literally train four years for this one game,” U.S. forward Monique Lamoureux-Morando said. “We are a tight-knit group. This is what we worked for, the chance to play for this gold medal.”
The teams’ history against each other is extensive. Five of the six Olympic gold medal games have come down to these two teams, and they’ve also had many contests over the years in international competition.
The U.S. actually has won seven of the previous eight world championship tournaments, beating Canada in the finals on each occasion.
But the Olympics have been another story. Since Team USA’s win in the 1998 gold medal game, Canada has claimed every title, three of the four times beating the U.S. head-to-head, including an overtime victory four years ago in Sochi.
The most recent meeting was just earlier in this tournament, when the U.S. outshot Canada but fell 2-1 in a game that featured several skirmishes.
Now they’ll face another chapter late Wednesday night.
Women’s Tournament Schedule
9:10 p.m. – 7th place game, N/S Korea vs. Sweden
1:40 a.m. – 5th place game, Japan vs. Switzerland
1:40 a.m. – Bronze Medal Game, Finland vs. Olympics Athletes of Russia
10:10 p.m. – Gold Medal Game, Canada vs. USA