The last game of the tournament saw the United States face Canada. This is the greatest rivalry in the olympics. In Women’s hockey. Possibly even in Women’s sports. This one promised to be a good battle. Both teams were undefeated going into this game. The winner of this game would win Group A. Both teams automatically advance into the elimination stage. The United States was coming off of back to back shutouts. They beat Switzerland 8-0 in their last game. Canada beat ROC (Russia) 6-1 in their last game.
The United State took a penalty for cross-checking 13 minutes into the game. Canada would score on the resulting power play. Canada took a hooking penalty 16 minutes into the game. Canada took a 1-0 lead into the second period. Canada started out the second period by taking a penalty for hooking. The United State would get on the board about half way through the second period. The goal was scored by Dani Cameranesi. Assists came from Kelly Pannek and Cayla Barnes. Less then 30 seconds after USA tied the game Canada took a boarding penalty. The United Sates would score on the power play to take the lead. Alex Carpenter got the goal. Amanda Kessel and Megan Keller got the assists. Canada would then tie the game less than a minute later. 2 minutes later Canada would score the go ahead goal. Canada then took a penalty for interference. Late in the second period the United States would give up a penalty shot. Canada would score the games last goal on that penalty shot. Canada took a 4-2 lead into the third period. Canada would take 2 more penalties in the third period. The final score was 4-2 Canada.
The USA had a lot of offensive zone time and control. Canada was comfortable playing majority of the game in their own end. One of the officials did leave the game at one point. She did get cut with a stick from a Canadian player. It did look like she would need stitches. The hooking call was soft. Canada did take a lot of penalties but they could have had a lot more. I counted a boarding call and at least one hit after the whistle. Have more consistent officiating would be nice. It is the IIHF so that may be too much to ask for. The United States wasn’t protecting their net. They weren’t tying the Canadians up in front of the net. They let the Canadians have their sticks down in front of the net. They let the Canadians sneak around them in front of the net. If they just lifted a few more sticks they could have won the game. The powerplay was bad. More shots need to be taken. They are looking for that perfect shot instead of shooting. Especially at the end of the game they weren’t taking enough shots.
The USA was not taking enough slap shots from the point. Majority of the shots from the point were wrist shots. Slap shots work great to get through traffic and get good rebound opportunities. There harder for the goalie to control. USA wasn’t getting a lot of quality scoring chances because they weren’t doing enough to get those second and third scoring opportunities. They were also hesitating to shoot the puck. There was a lot of waiting to shoot. Faking and then taking shots. Stick handling before shooting. There wasn’t a lot of one timers. A lot of this allowed the goalie to get into position and players to get into positions to block shots.
A lot of this can be improved on quickly. This was the first real challenge for either team. I think that this was a possible gold medal match. The United States has a real shot at gold they just need to make some slight improvements. There plenty of time to make the necessary improvements. They have a couple days off. The United states should be able to roll right through their opponents into the gold medal game.
The United States will face the Czech Republic in the Quarterfinals. That game will take place on the 11th.