Canada and the U.S. will collide once again for the gold medal in women’s hockey at the 2014 Olympics. Canada has played in every Olympic final and will have a chance, Thursday Feb 20th@9:00 am pt, for a fourth gold in a row. Canada is not the favorite heading into the gold medal match this time around. Canada did a pretty good job of beat the Americans in its 3-2 preliminary round victory. The word “hate” gets thrown around a lot when it comes to the Canada-U.S. rivalry after there were a couple of brawls in the exhibition games in the run-up to the Games.
The U.S. earned its berth in the final with a 6-1 win over Sweden. Megan Bozek and Brianna Decker each had a goal and two assists, and the Americans outshot Sweden 70-9 to clinch no worse than a silver medal. The U.S. has medaled in every Winter Games since women’s hockey was added in 1998, and just once — with a loss to Sweden in the 2006 semifinals — failed to reach the championship game.
“Their ‘D’ is pretty shaky back there when you give them a lot of pressure. If we end up playing Canada on Thursday we’re going to try the U.S. forecheck as best we can and make them turn pucks over below the goal line,” she said.
American scoring star Hilary Knight, who was outshooting the Swedes 9-6 on her own at one point Monday, liked what she saw from her team in the semifinal win.
“It was a step in the right direction. We are a very resilient team and you didn’t see our best game when we played Canada. We’ve been better all year, but that’s nothing to rest on. We’re a fast, young, resilient, strong team. We’ve got a lot of skill, a lot of character and we’re excited for the opportunity,” she said.
Canada, which has played in every Olympic final, will have a chance Thursday for a fourth gold in a row after a 3-1 victory over Switzerland later Monday. Not since the inaugural tournament in Nagano have the Americans beaten Canada, losing in the championship game in 2002 and 2010 and again in the preliminary round of the Sochi Games on Wednesday.
Canada took down Switzerland somewhat easily, to book their place in the final. Olympic rookie Natalie Spooner led Canada’s effort over the Swiss with a pair of goals, while Mélodie Daoust scored the third and final goal. Shannon Szabados made 21 saves for the win.
Canada has more positive Olympic experience to draw on, the US team seems to have had their number recently. The Americans are the reigning World Champions and have won 4 out of 7 games over Canada leading up to Sochi 2014.
Since losing the gold medal match in 1998, Canada’s women have taken home hockey’s top prize from the last three Olympic Winter Games. Over that period the Canadian women are unbeaten in Olympic hockey, putting together a 19-game winning streak, including the semifinal over Switzerland.
Sochi 2014 Women’s Olympic Hockey USA vs Canada
When: Thursday Feb 20@9:00 AM PT
Pick: Canada +115
The Bottom Line: While we are uncertain which of these two hockey superpowers will take home the top prize, we can say for sure that it will be an all-out battle that will be entertaining to watch. We recommend you sign up with Bovada to receive a 10% sign up bonus heading into the Womens hockey final.