Skip to main content

Canada vs USA - Women's Gold Medal Preview


The 2014 Sochi Gold Medal women's hockey game sees the young and the relentless United States take on a veteran Canadian team that is the three time reigning Olympic champions.

To win a fourth straight Olympic gold medal, the Canadian women's hockey team must leverage its big-game experience up front to overcome the superior speed of the United States.

Canada's dozen forwards have a combined 18 previous appearances at the Winter Olympics among them compared to seven among the American forwards. Three-time gold medallists Caroline Ouellette, Hayley Wickenheiser and Jayna Hefford, as well as third-time Olympians Meghan Agosta-Marciano and Gillian Apps lead the way for Canada. 

Coach Kevin Dineen will rely heavily on his leadership group. 

"There's a lot of people in that locker-room that have a pretty special jewellery collection."

But the hungry Americans are primed to reclaim Olympic gold - something they have not done since 1998.

Canada may have won the round robin showdown a week ago, but the U.S. beat Canada in four of the last five world championship finals. The last title match came in Ottawa last year, before a sold out stadium of Canadian fans. Many of today's Olympians were on that team, and that should help fill any experience gap.

While Canada holds a heavy experience advantage up front, they do not on the blue line. In fact Catherine Ward and Meaghan Mikkelson are the only two defenders among the six who played in Vancouver, and Mikkelson was unable to play in the game vs. Switzerland for unknown reasons. She will be in the lineup against the Americans, but it is the blue line that the Americans will look to exploit with their speed. 

The line of Amanda Kessell, younger sister of Maple Leafs forward Phil, Brianna Decker and Kendall Coyne is the most impressive line in women's hockey today and are lethal with the puck. They also the key to the red hot power play, which operates at 35% compared to Canada's 20%

Expect Jessie Vetter to play in net for the Americans. She was a constant in those four world championships is arguably the best female goalie in North America right now. 

Canada's goaltender of choice remains a mystery. Whether Dineen chooses Charline Labonte, who got the win against USA in the round robin, or Shannon Szabados, he will get strong goaltending.

Whatever happens on Thursday will go down as another epic chapter in the game's most fierce rivalry. 

Comments

Trevor said…
I would say the key US line is Knight, Stack & Carpenter. Knight & Stack have been great the whole tourney, while the 2nd line is hit & miss.
As for goaltending, the 3 Canadian goalies are better than Vetter.

Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M