When the Americans and the Canadians meet up in the Olympics, bad blood boils over between usually friendly neighbors.
For the second consecutive Olympic Winter Games, the United States women’s hockey team will battle Team Canada for ultimate bragging rights in the gold medal game. In 2010 at Canada Hockey Place in Vancouver, the Canadians outplayed and outmatched the Americans en route to a 2-0 shutout in the final.
The Unites States, featuring one current and two former Boston College players, hopes to avenge its losses both from four years ago and earlier this month in Sochi.
Forward Kelli Stack, a 2011 BC graduate, is appearing in the Olympics for the second time. Through four games Stack has one goal, three assists, and is third on the team in ice time at 82:28. Her lone goal came during the first game for the U.S., a 3-1 victory against Finland.
Alex Carpenter, a forward and BC sophomore, is tied for the team lead in goals with three. She scored the first goal in the semifinal round against Sweden to put the Americans on top. It was a lead they would never surrender on their way to a 6-1 victory.
Molly Schaus is another member of BC’s class of 2011. She is the primary backup goaltender for the Americans. Schaus played in Team USA’s 9-0 rout of Switzerland, coming away with a shutout, stopping all 10 shots she faced.
In a game in which fighting is banned, these two teams aren’t hesitant to let their emotions show. The U.S. and Canada have faced off multiple times in the past year gearing up for the Olympics, and two games have been marred by full-line brawls.
The first took place in early October in Burlington, Vt., after a U.S. player made contact with the Canadian goalie, sparking the Canadian defenders to protect their teammate. The chaos occurred in the final minutes of a 3-2 win for Canada.
The next was just under two months ago in mid-December in Grand Forks, N.D. In one of their last contests before leaving for Russia, another brawl took place after some post-whistle activity. The U.S. came away with a 4-1 victory in that match-up.
In Sochi, Team Canada has only given up one goal to teams other than the U.S. It is undefeated thus far, including a 3-2 win over the U.S. in group play.
Canada has won the past three Olympic gold medals for women’s hockey. Ever since the Americans won the inaugural women’s hockey gold medal in 1998, Canada has dominated in its national sport.
The Americans, meanwhile, have beat up on all of their opponents except the Canadians. They breezed through contests with the Finnish, Swiss, and Swedish national teams, but they couldn’t quite keep up with their rivals from the north.
The women’s final this afternoon will serve as a precursor to the men’s semifinal on Friday that pits the U.S. against Canada once again.
The American men lost a heartbreaker in overtime in the final just four years ago, and they are looking to capitalize on a stacked Canadian roster that hasn’t quite gelled yet in this tournament.