Usually we would have the Men's Semifinals first as we are down the Final 4 of the Men's Tournament. But today, with the Women's Gold Medal Game coming up tonight between the U.S.A. and Canada.
As the only nations to ever win gold medals at the Women's Olympic Tournament and the Women's World Hockey Championship back in 1998. These teams have had some great matches over the years and have played for numerous medals over the years. Canada has won Olympic Gold the last 2 Olympics in 2006 and 2002.
However, the U.S.A. has won the Women's World Hockey Championship the last 2 seasons. In addition, 3 years ago, the IIHF created the World Junior Women's Championships where Team U.S.A. has beaten Canada in the first 2 years of the tournament's history, and look to make 3 in a row when the 3rd annual event takes place in March with the tournament taking place in Chicago this season coming up in March.
Women's Gold Medal Game
U.S.A. VS. Canada 5:00 PM @ Canada Hockey Place
With both teams dominating this tournament, even against their Northern European Rivals Sweden and Finland who usually have been able to challenge them in the Olympics and Women's World Championship.
Both Final Group Stage Games were used as the U.S.A. have been better on the defense and goaltending while Canada has been better on the barnstorming of the opponents was held by Sweden a little bit better as the U.S.A has been able to have shutouts over Russia and Finland during the Group Stage.
Then in the Semifinals was able to keep the Swedes to just one goal and that came pretty late in the game.
In the Goaltending battle will be the area where this game will come down who can stay more focused as both goalies haven't been that busy during this tournament in any of the 4 games that have been played for both teams.
Jesse Vetter has a 0.33 GAA and only has allowed 1 goal in this tournament while Canada has decided to play their different goalies Kim St. Pierre or Shannon Szabados that will get the start. The third netminder only played in the 18-0 blowout they gave Slovakia on the opening day of the tournament.
Edge: Toss Up
Defense has been the U.S.A.'s strong suit as the Americans unlike the Canadians have been much better then the Canadians when it comes down to protecting the net when needed during the tournament. For the U.S.A, watch out for the top duo of Catlin Chow and Molly Engstrom who have 8 and 7 points collectively in the tournament and have the capabilities to deliver some hits, where this is something that you don't see that much in the Women's Game.
For Canada, look for them to play a collectively team effort as the scoring hasn't been as effective for the Canadian team as the defensemen scoring hasn't been their as much as players like Phillip-Marie Poulin who leads the defense with 5 points.
In Women's Hockey, Defense scoring is a much bigger part of the game because of the lack of hitting and fewer penalties due to the hits and fewer fights as well.
Edge: Leaning U.S.A.
Talk about score by committee, 9 of the forwards have scored at least one goal in these Olympics. Lead by Jenny Porter who has 11 points (6G 5A) along with several players who have scored 4. While every forward expect for Jinelle Zaugg-Siergiez has scored at least a point that has made it very tough for opponents to focus on a few of the players which will be a challenge for Canada. Even though Zaugg-Siergiez hasn't scored a point, she's been more of a physical presence and more of a puck mover to set up some of the forwards, so far this has been maybe the only disappointment in this tournament run.
For Canada's leading score Meghan Agosta is looking to be the first player ever to score double digit goals in the Women's Olympic Tournament in it's history. Scoring 9 goals which has included a hat trick against Slovakia in their tournament opener where they won 18-0.
Some other forwards that can light the lamp include Jayna Hefford who after scoring 3 goals and 3 assists against Slovakia has kept up her performances with 2 goals and 5 assists in the tournament. However beyond the top 2, no one has more then 3 goals in this tournament so the scoring depth may be a problem, but they can be very hard hitting and can make life for the Americans skaters very tough tonight.
Edge: Slight U.S.A.
Bottom Line: Canada may have the Defending Gold Medals. But the U.S.A. is back up after a couple of Women's World Championships and have much better young players and they have a much better all around game. As expected, this game will be close, but look for the U.S.A. to pull away late in this one.
Final Score: U.S.A. 4 Canada 2
Here's the Scores from both the U.S.A. and Canada Throughout the Tournament.
2/14: U.S.A. 12 China 1 (5-0, 3-0, 4-1)
2/16: U.S.A. 13 Russia 0 (5-0, 7-0, 1-0)
2/18: U.S.A. 6 Finland 0 (4-0, 1-0, 1-0)
2/22: U.S.A. 9 Sweden 1 (2-0, 3-1, 4-0)
2/13: Canada 18 Slovakia 0 (7-0, 6-0, 5-0)
2/15: Switzerland 1 Canada 10 (0-2, 1-3, 0-5)
2/17: Canada 13 Sweden 1 (5-0, 7-0, 1-1)
2/22: Canada 5 Finland 0 (2-0, 1-0, 2-0)
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